fiction favorites…Kildee House…from the orange marmalade archives

originally published August 2, 2010

Kildee House, by Rutherford Montgomery, illustrations by Barbara Cooney 

Here’s another Newbery Honor book, from 1950, which went out of print (how does this happen?!) but is now being published by Walker and Company as part of their Newbery Honor Roll series.  Thank you for bringing these titles back into print!  We’ve read this one aloud several times in our family and all of us have a soft spot for it in our hearts. 

Jerome Kildee is a shy fellow, so when he retires he decides to settle far from other folk, on the wooded knob of a mountain in the Pacific Coast Range, in an odd little house tucked at the foot of a giant redwood tree, there to become a hermit.  Jerome’s persnickety feelings about neighbors don’t apply to woodland creatures, however, and he agreeably shares his quarters with several thieving raccoons, a pair of curious spotted skunks and an assortment of mice, not to mention some who don’t care to enter his home such as the black-tailed deer, gray foxes and possums.  All this is very well for a time.  However.  Animals have a way of propagating themselves.  And a whole passel of skunks and a whole family of grouchy raccoons all trying to co-exist in a very small cottage is perhaps not so wise.  Meanwhile, Jerome has other problems on his hands as two children enter his life. They like him.  And surprisingly he likes them back.  However, Emma Lou Eppy and Donald Roger Cabot are in the midst of a gun-totin’ feud with one another.  What’s a hermit to do in a situation like this? 

The characters – animal and human – in this story are real and warm, funny and tender, ornery and gentle.  The story itself is delightful.  If you have any animal-lovers in your household, this book will suit them wonderfully.  About 200 pages.  Makes a great read-aloud for approximately age 6 and up. 

Here’s an Amazon link:Kildee House (The Newbery Honor Roll)