Butterworth and Gaggiotti (Where Did My Clothes Come From? 2015) team up for another informational picture book, this time exploring the inner workings of a single-family house.
A multigenerational household of mixed ethnicity takes center stage as the text explores the engineering marvels that provide the creature comforts readers might often take for granted. Gaggiotti’s charming mixed-media illustrations, which have a vintage vibe reminiscent of Mary Blair, add brightness to the technical descriptions. Simple explanations of power generation (including coal- and gas-burning power plants and nuclear generation as well as renewables hydro, wind, and solar), waste-water treatment, and natural-gas processing introduce complex civil-engineering topics to young audiences. In concluding pages, diverse children suggest ways readers might conserve the resources highlighted in the text. At times, the simplicity may obfuscate the facts, however, as when the flow of electricity is depicted as moving in one direction rather than as a circuit. Although the focus is on one two-story domicile, illustrations include both city and suburban views; there is no attempt to represent regionally or culturally specific architecture. Nevertheless, the engaging combination of text and illustration is sure to appeal to curious readers.
A darling introduction to the engineered amenities that help make a house a home. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, index) (Informational picture book. 6-9)