In the half room

Carson Ellis, 1975-

Book - 2020

The light of the half moon Shines down on the half room . . .The half room is full of half things. A half chair, a half cat, even half shoes--all just as nice as whole things. When half a knock comes on half a door, who in the world could it be? With inventive flair, Caldecott Honor winner Carson Ellis explores halves and wholes in an ingenious and thought-provoking picture book. Ink and gouache illustrations featuring wry detail and velvety textures conjure a dreamlike mood while leaving space ...for imagining. A celebration of the surreal and the serendipitous and the beauty of the two together, this brilliant picture book will have readers seeing halves with whole new eyes.

Saved in:

Children's Room Show me where

2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Ellis Checked In
Children's Room jE/Ellis Checked In
Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2020.
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Main Author
Carson Ellis, 1975- (author)
Review by Booklist Review

With a moonlit setting and simple, repetitive phrasing, Caldecott Honor-winner Ellis' (Du Iz Tak?, 2016) latest offering gives a nod to Goodnight Moon. Here she literally does everything by halves, introducing each item or creature in the half room. "Half a window / Half a door / Half a rug on half a floor." This conceit extends to the cat, chair, hat, shoes, lamp, flowers, and red-headed woman reading her book, all cleanly bisected and peacefully resting beneath the light of the half moon. This extended joke will be appreciated by little ones, and Ellis' folksy paintings delightfully showcase the room's contents individually and then as a (half) complete scene. An unexpected twist arrives when the woman's other half comes knocking at the door and "Shoooooop!," the halves fit together, leaving her free to frolic beneath the starry sky. The story then returns its focus to the half room with its now-familiar objects and a final goodnight message. Silly and sweet, this comforting book will be wholly embraced by children as a new bedtime favorite.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In rhymes and nighttime interiors that recall Goodnight Moon, Caldecott Honoree Ellis (Du Iz Tak?) imagines a space in which everything is neatly divided down the middle. Rendered in gouache on cream-colored pages, half pieces of furniture appear eclectically antique as "the light of the half moon/ shines down on the half room." A feline is half a sleek Siamese, and half a woman in a blue dress sits reading half a book beneath a stately half lamp. After a comet blazes through the sky, "half a knock on half a door" reveals the woman's missing component. Magically, with a delicious joining-up noise--"SHOOOOOOP"--the two fuse, and the now whole woman, freckled and red-haired, dances off into the night. The room remains behind her, cat halves battling it out before each settles down on the half rug in peace. The woman's mid-story reunion, so profound and complete, may for some relegate the ending to distraction, but by centering the fragmentary, Ellis offers a strange, thrilling logic and invites readers to engage with a concept fundamental to children's experience: liminality. Ages 4--8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2--The author of Du Iz Tak? has developed another book that is sure to stretch the imagination and welcome whimsy--it may also prompt a few people, children included, to scratch their heads. In this stark, brief book appear objects that have been halved: shoes, cats, a rug, a door, all rich with color against a white background. Half of a woman appears but suddenly, "shoooooop," her two halves meld into one, allowing her to run out into the night to greet the half-moon while the half-lamp, half-cats, half-chair, and other household items remain indoors. The text primarily consists of naming each item on the page, but does so in a simple rhyming pattern and cadence that is reminiscent of Goodnight Moon. It is a quiet book, one that would be good for bedtime. Like David Macaulay's postmodern Black and White, the book invites multiple interpretations; but without the abundance of visual and textual information or clues of that book or Anthony Browne's Voices in the Park, this feels unfinished and bare bones. VERDICT For collections seeking books that play with, break, and challenge traditions, this would be one to add--if readers can escape the nagging inner voice asking, "But what does it mean?"--Maggie Chase, Boise State Univ., ID

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Horn Book Review

In a series of images that depict halves, Ellis ushers readers into a delightfully surreal setting. With pleasing rhymes ("Half a window / Half a door / Half a rug on half a floor"), the bizarre illustrations show a world of bisections. A woman, split exactly in half, sits on half a chair near half a table with, across the room, half a cat on half a rug. When the woman's other half knocks on the door and enters the room, the two halves unite, making the woman whole again with an exceptionally child-friendly "SHOOOOOP." While the woman rejoices outdoors, reveling under the light of half a moon, the cat's other half enters the home, but instead of uniting, they engage in a half-cat fight. The page-turns are compelling, as one takes in the visually beguiling world of the halves, and the earth-toned illustrations include bright pops of pink (half a vase filled with flower halves) and yellow (the half-moon and stars that twinkle next to it). It's a genuinely offbeat story embracing absurdity, and cat lovers everywhere will easily accept the asocial cat-halves refusing to "shoop" and merely falling asleep next to each other. A wholly entertaining tale. Julie Danielson September/October 2020 p.60(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Under a half moon, a glimpse of a half woman in a cottage full of half things invites speculation and puzzlement. In cadences reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's soothing narratives, Ellis introduces the interior: "Half a window / Half a door / Half a rug on half a floor." True and near rhymes jostle gently in the lulling text. When "half a knock on half a door" reveals "half a face you've seen before," the half woman--who presents White with freckles and long, carrot-colored hair--is reunited with her other half. After a satisfying "SHOOOOOP" joins the halves together, she revels outside under the moon. Next, the nether end of the pet cat is at the door, sparking two "half cats / in a half-cat fight." In Ellis' appealing gouache paintings, the cat halves spar in a series of spot illustrations. A page turn reveals a partial resolution: "Two half cats asleep / Good night." Young readers might wonder why the cat's halves don't "shoop" together at the end, as the woman's halves had. Perhaps it's a nod to the consummate self-satisfaction of felines: Ellis' dedication calls out both her son and her eight cats, past and present. Even as she evokes the coziness of Goodnight Moon, Ellis injects a modern, disquieting note by avoiding "shooping" all things whole. Visually charming and a bit disarming, this invites dialogue between caregivers and young children. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.