Put on your hard hat and get ready to build by moving construction-themed puzzle pieces about the page in this French import.
In a conversational narration, a pair of builders with black hair and tangerine skin congenially chat with each other and readers as they detail the many stages involved in building a home. After detailing how the duo erects the house, it warmly concludes with a new project: a baby so they might now “build [their] family.” As there’s a fair amount of text, studded with rich vocabulary like balcony and joists, it’s most suitable for older toddler and preschool listeners. Deneux’s signature style shines, with abundant white space and graphically simple renderings of people and equipment made primarily of bold, unlined geometric shapes in a cohesive palette of olive, crimson, goldenrod, and black. Where the book stumbles is in its interactivity. Conceptually, moving the pieces from a recessed area on the left page to a recess on the right to help the duo complete a building task is ingenious, as a square and rectangle become bricks or a triangle roof is added, but in practice, this requires some serious manual dexterity. Pieces designed to fit tight require prying to remove, and sometimes, placing the correct pieces into the slot is tricky. Caregivers will bemoan the many tiny parts as they disappear into bottomless toy boxes.
Creative—but doesn’t quite nail it.(Board book/novelty. 3-5)