Book details

Macmillan Children's Book

A House That Once Was

Author: Julie Fogliano; illustrated by Lane Smith

A House That Once Was

A House That Once Was


About This Book

The dynamic duo of Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith team up to tell a delightful story about a boy and a girl who explore an abandoned house and imagine who might have lived there in A House That Once Was.
Page Count
On Sale
Age Range

Book Details

A New York Times Best Illustrated book!
A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of 2018

“Accompanied by Lane's evocative art that suggests layers of history, Fogliano's story turns this childhood scenario into a radiant poem about the mysteries of other people and the wonderfulness of home.” —New York Times

Deep in the woods
is a house
just a house
that once was
but now isn’t
a home.

Who lived in that house? Who walked down its hallways? Why did they leave it, and where did they go?

Two children set off to find the answers by piecing together clues found, books left behind, forgotten photos, and discarded toys, creating their own vision of those who came before, in this deeply moving tale of imagination by Ezra Jack Keats Award–winning author Julie Fogliano and Caldecott Award–winning illustrator Lane Smith.

Imprint Publisher

Roaring Brook Press



In The News

“Perfectly seamless; words and art are interwoven in a dance that enchants. Inventive and lovely.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“A timeless feel and an outstanding picture book.” —Booklist, starred review

“A wizard of wordplay and a maestro of composition combine their considerable talents to explore the notion of home . . . Stirring to the eye and the spirit, this evocative book repays frequent readings.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“[A] lyrical meditation.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Imaginative and colorful.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“[A] rhythmic, read-aloud-perfect tale . . . poetic and visually striking.” —Horn Book

If You Want to See A Whale:

“Fogliano's words are carved and measured. This is a writer who takes her time, and the leaps she makes with language surprise and thrill.” —The New York Times

“A gorgeous love song to the imagination . . . It's breathtaking . . . Fans will be waiting.” —Booklist, starred review

“Readers will gape at the two enormous, whale-sized talents at work in this transfixing picture book.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

And Then It's Spring:

“In an understated and intimate partnership, Fogliano and Stead conjure late winter doldrums and the relief of spring's arrival, well worth the wait.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Many treasures lie buried within this endearing story, in which humor and anxious anticipation sprout alongside one another.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Fogliano's poetic yet grounded narrative is reminiscent of Charlotte Zolotow's picture-book texts in its understatement and straightforward, childlike observations.” —The Horn Book, starred review

Grandpa Green:

“[Lane Smith's] illustrations, a blend of line drawings and sponge painting, have a classic feel, and make clever use of the topiary theme, rewarding close examination and repeated reading.” —The New Yorker

“Lush and magical.” —People

“An unassuming little masterpiece . . . The book's power lies in its rich, allusive artistry.” —New York Times Book Review

“It's a rare glimpse into Smith's softer side—as skillful as his more sly offerings, but crafted with honesty and heart.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Visually intriguing and emotionally resonant, this is a book to pore over and talk about.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Sketched with a finely lined fairy-tale wispiness and dominated by verdant green, the illustrations are not just creative but poignant.” —Booklist

About the Creators

A House That Once Was

A House That Once Was