The House of Happy Spirits by Geraldine Elschner and illustrated by Lucie Vandevelde (9/15/2020; ISBN: 9783791374543; Hardcover $14.95; Ages 4+) is filled with color-saturated illustrations that echo Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser's bold style, introducing young readers to the idea of environmentally conscious and playful architecture.
When construction starts on a new building in Lea's neighborhood, she fears that her favorite tree will be chopped down. For days she watches anxiously as the tree is covered up and surrounded by bricks. Finally, she learns that the tree has been spared and made the centerpiece of a fantastic new building, where it will live a long and healthy life. Lucie Vandevelde's joyful drawings convey a kid's-eye view of city life, complete with people, pets, automobiles, and machinery. As the new building emerges, readers will come to learn about some of Hundertwasser's celebrated and offbeat principles--such as the rights of tenants to paint the walls outside of their windows, that trees should be given their own rooms, and that "straight lines lead to the downfall of humanity." A brief biography of Hundertwasser at the end of the book fills readers in on the work of this pioneering artist whose ideas were once radical but are now integrated into many architectural concepts.
I loved the cover of this book so much. The bold beautiful colors and interesting art definitely makes this a favorite in the classroom. The children loved that everyone was protecting the tree and building around it rather than knocking it down. The kids in school love asking the "do you spot" questions. There is so much for the eyes to go to.
Our art teacher really enjoyed it and has read it to her class three times.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.