Building Our House

by Jonathan Bean

A young girl describes her family's effort over the course of eighteen months to... read more

A young girl describes her family's effort over the course of eighteen months to build the house in which they will live. A trailer placed on the land they've purchased provides shelter, while the dad, mom, two kids, and extended family and friends provide the labor and lots of love. Seasons change and change and change again as a hole is dug, the foundation is poured, and beams are hewn (by hand) and fitted together before a roof and sides go on. Then work begins inside. "We plumb while the wind howls. And wire while the drifts pile up." Jonathan Bean's warm, well-crafted story is both playful and informative, full of intriguing details described in a narrative in which every thoughtfully chosen word and carefully placed comma shapes the wonderful flow. There are also whimsical details and elements of the story told only through the art, whether it's the kids playing under the wheelbarrow, the antics of the cats, or the progression of the mom's pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby by the time they move out of the trailer and into the finished house. An already captivating picture book includes a note in which Bean writes about his parents and the five years they spent building a house by hand. He includes photographs of himself and his sisters, all young children, engaged in the process. Honor Book, 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 3-7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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