Book of the Week: The Little House

July 8, 2013

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

Images and text by Carter.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton is one of those sigh-worthy books, right? It’s a classic that might be wedged into that little-house-shaped hole in your heart, too, just like it is in mine. (And Gabrielle’s — it’s a favorite at the Blair house!) I remember reading it as a little girl, and it seemed so fancy and old-fashioned at the time. And now, many years later, my view of fancy and old-fashioned has transformed into an awe of its timelessness.

This Little House is just a tiny thing, painted pink, and sheltering love. She sits on a hill in the countryside watching the seasons rise and set with the sun, watching the kids wander and wonder, and wondering herself what city life is like. Slowly but surely, the Little House watches surveyors with steam shovels and buildings rise to the sky, blocking her view of the stars. She hasn’t moved an inch, but the Little House is wholly homesick. But her legacy is of love, and when she’s plucked from the city and replanted in the countryside, I become a bit of a blubbering mess.

Her story reminds me of the things that make home warm despite the passage of time. It makes me think of the white paint chipping away at the columns of my grandparents’ porch, and how spinning around them made me forget about the biting mosquitoes out there. How about you?

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Damaris Palmer July 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

This is one of our all time favorite books. I love the illustrations.


2 Angela DeMuro July 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

This is a favorite book in our home.
I had never knew of it until a few years ago a friend said our little farmhouse reminded him of this book. i went out and purchased it the next day to read to our youngest son (who is four).
The first thing he said….”Mommy, look they drew our house!”


3 Carter Higgins July 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Oh! That is so sweet.


4 Kim July 8, 2013 at 6:57 pm

I love this makes me a little weepy!! the illustrations are so lovely. One of our favourites.


5 Jane@Buzzmills July 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Oh, we (I) love this book!! So much so I even made a Little House pillow and talked about how much I love this book here… (and then wrote a tutorial to make one..


6 Carter Higgins July 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

Oh gracious, that is adorable! Love your worn out copy, too.


7 Siouxzy July 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm

This looks amazing! Thanks for posting it.


8 Siouxzy July 8, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Carter, I just found your website through this post. It is amazing. Can’t wait to visit it more.


9 Carter Higgins July 8, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Thanks, Siouxzy! So kind of you.


10 Brigit Dermott July 9, 2013 at 6:23 am

One of the best! This is the first book I read to my daughter and was an absolute favorite–at one point I could recite the entire text–very handy for car rides. It’s a wonderful story about endurance and place–and just so beautifully written. Great pick!


11 Carter Higgins July 9, 2013 at 9:39 am

Endurance and place. That’s beautiful!


12 Karen July 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

this was my favorite book as a child… and now my little boys love it too. so happy to see it endure!


13 Giulia July 9, 2013 at 8:41 am

I read this book as a child and it was stored deep down as a memory – I kept remembering a book with a little pink house surrounded by large buildings. Now that I have kids I googled it and since the title is exactly what I was remembering it was easy to find. My kids love it. Did you know that her Mike Mulligan and his Steam shovel book shows the scene where the highways are being built? My kids figured out the cross reverence. We also like Katy and the big snow.


14 Carter Higgins July 9, 2013 at 9:40 am

Genius! Thanks for sharing that! So cool.


15 Cait July 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

This is one of my favorite, favorite childhood books! Thank you for bringing back lovely memories.


16 Ann July 9, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I love this book!


17 lissalou July 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I love this book so much! Caroline Herring, an Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, has set it to music. Check it out here:

It’s a beautiful tribute.


18 Carter Higgins July 9, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Oh gosh. Oh wow. How gorgeous is that?! Thank you so much for sharing!


19 Terri July 10, 2013 at 11:02 am

This is my all-time favorite picture book. I was always so enchanted by this lovely little house.


20 Kirsten July 11, 2013 at 2:36 pm

I look forward to your book recommendations. I head to my library website, request the book and then share with my granddaughter. One week I missed doing it and what happened? My granddaughter asked me, “What happened to this week’s book?” I realized she loves me finding her “special” books. We read our Junie B. Jones books, she loves her princess stories but the books I check out (recommended by you) have become something special that we share. Thank you.


21 Carter Higgins July 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

Kirsten! That’s the sweetest thing ever. I’m so grateful to have a tiny part in your special sharing time! And I, too, love Junie B!


22 Moitreyee September 3, 2013 at 1:04 am

Dear Gabriel,
I wanted to let you know about this very important publisher in India.
They are working with Indigenous Artists of India, and translating their art into picture books for kids. The stories are amazing, but so is the artwork. I think, it is time Design mom looks towards the east, specially now that she resides in Bay Area.



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