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House Held Up by Trees: 07/10/18
House Held Up by Trees by Ted Kooser is about a house that is built way out in the countryside. It covers the time from when it was new, through the family that lived there, to the house sitting empty and for sale, to finally being boarded up and left to nature.
The grove of trees is cleared away and the house. There is a tidy lawn and the kids play on it. The house is something that the man who owns it is proud of. It's implied that his children will grow up and want to keep the house.
But the house is very rural and the town never really comes out far enough. There's not enough to do or to live on out there. Presumably the now adult children move somewhere where they can makes lives for themselves.
So the house goes on the market. It doesn't sell. And over the remainder of the book, the house becomes like so many of those old abandoned farm houses one sees along two lane roads.
Except this is a wet place and the trees that had been cleared grow back. The final pages show how the house gets absorbed back into the forest. Like the famous bicycle in a tree photo that makes the rounds of the internet, the house becomes part of the trees.
It's a rather bleak story but realistic for a lot of small towns that didn't manage to hold on after various economic downturns.
The illustrations by Jon Klassen carry the bulk of the story. He uses his hallmark pallet of earth tones. Here those colors carry the isolation and desolation of this house next to and then inside a grove of trees.