Earth Day Perfect Picture Book Review: The Little House


Falling_Apple_Blossoms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday, April 22, is International Mother Earth Day! Events will be taking place all around the globe to raise awareness of the need to protect the environment and educate people to preserve our natural resources and help children learn to be good stewards of this planet.  I agree with Roni Baras, author of 55 Ways to Save the Environment and Make a Difference, when she says: “As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids to care for the world.”

Here are a few ways that parents and young children can participate, not only on Earth Day, but all year long:

  • Don’t Litter: Walk to a local park and talk about how it looks better when people don’t leave trash – bring a bag and pick up garbage
  • Grow Stuff: Plant herbs, flowers and vegetables outside or in pots – teach kids how to care for them
  • Save Energy: Turn off lights when they are not needed
  • Conserve Water: Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth – install water-saving shower heads and faucets
  • Reduce Pollution: Walk or bike if possible instead of driving short distances


Here’s a really fun idea! How about washing your hair in the rain? I spoke with my sister yesterday and she reminded me of the times when we were kids and we would go outside with a bottle of shampoo when it was raining and giggle and laugh as we played with heads full of suds.


When I realized that Earth Day was approaching, I wanted to choose a story for today’s review that would reflect the spirit of conservation. I can’t believe I hadn’t reviewed this classic – one of my ALL-TIME favorites. For more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill and check out her amazing resource list of over 1000 books.

The Little House

Written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (1942)

Ages: 3 and up

Themes: urbanization, change, environment, pollution, progress

Opening Lines: Once upon a time there was a Little House way out in the country. She was a pretty Little House and she was strong and well built.”


From Amazon:

The rosy-pink Little House, on a hill surrounded by apple trees, watches the days go by from the first apple blossoms in the spring through the winter snows. Always faintly aware of the city’s distant lights, she starts to notice the city encroaching on her bucolic existence. First a road appears, which brings horseless carriages and then trucks and steamrollers. Before long, more roads, bigger homes, apartment buildings, stores, and garages surround the Little House. Her family moves out and she finds herself alone in the middle of the city, where the artificial lights are so bright that the Little House can no longer see the sun or the moon. She often dreams of “the field of daisies and the apple trees dancing in the moonlight.” Children will be saddened to see the lonely, claustrophobic, dilapidated house, but when a woman recognizes her and whisks her back to the country where she belongs,they will rejoice.”
Why I Like This Book:
  • This book won the 1943 Caldecott Medal
  • It was the first book I remember my mother reading to me!
  • The illustrations are delightful
  • The personality of the Little House shines through.
  • I grew up in the city – and always wished I could be living in the country. I know just how The Little House felt.
  • This is a great read aloud story

How Parents Can Use This Book:

  • As a lovely read aloud
  • As a springboard for discussing the pros and cons of urbanization
  • To examine similarities and differences – country vs. city life

Related Activities

5 Minute Fun for Busy Moms on the Run: Make The Little House Cake

You will need: 1 yellow loaf cake, 1 container of frosting, several tubes of decorating gel in different colors, six graham crackers, cardboard for the base

  1. Put cake (ready-made if you are rushed or bake from scratch if you are not) on the cardboard.
  2. Frost the cake.
  3. Use the frosting as ‘glue’ and prop the graham crackers on top to form the roof.
  4. Add windows, shutters, door, etc. with the gel.

Make a little house collage with geometric shapes cut from construction paper

For more eco-friendly craft activities for young children, you can check out my book…FREE SHIPPING till the end of the month!

Earth Day Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Little House

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on April 19, 2013, in Book Review, Earth Day, parenting, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Catherine Johnson

    Great post, Vivian. I’m going to link to this on Monday.


    •  Thanks so much, Catherine…I’m going to try to read all of the PPBF posts tomorrow. It will be my last day in Chicago before I return home on Sunday. But, I’ll be coming back the next weekend. 🙂  


  2. I love The Little House book, but it’s so sad, and hopeful all at once. Great story to go with Earth Day for sure.


  3. Love your choice today Vivian. Such a moving story that ties in beautifully with Earth Day. Love your activities as they are all excellent things for kids to do.


    • It’s funny, Pat, because I couldn’t believe I (or someone else) hadn’t already reviewed this great classic…but I checked Susanna’s Perfect Picture Book list and it wasn’t on it. 🙂   


  4. Wow! That’s some cake you made!! This IS a great book for Earth Day. It’s kind of the way we feel where I live. More and more houses, more and more traffic, roads getting widened, every year more and more lights to block out the stars. Thanks for sharing this lovely little house!


  5. Yummy cake! I have heard of this one but so want to read it now. I reminds me of the new one by Ted Kooser. Great choice for Earth Day!


  6. I wish I baked, the cake looks yummy. Scratch that. It looks too good to eat. Love how you rolled out Earth Day, the book and the cake into one loaf. 🙂


    • Hahaha! You are very clever, Tracy. 🙂 The cake can be made simply (using a ready-made loaf cake from the store), a little more complicated (using a cake mix) or from scratch…kids will enjoy participating in whichever is best for mom!   


  7. Lovely post and wonderful reminders, Vivian!


  8. Happy Earth Day! 😀


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