WILLIAM'S HOUSE by Ginger Howard


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This clever debut from Howard combines historical tidbits about colonial living and demonstrates how geography influences architecture. An English family, in 1637, arrives in the New World ready to build a new home. William plans to build a home just like his father's house in England. He cuts down trees, clears an area 20 feet square, shapes wood for uprights and rafters, splits planks for clapboards, and gathers thatch for the roof. By summer the family of four is snug inside, but the weather is hotter in New England than in England and the meat and vegetables begin to spoil, so William digs a root cellar to keep the food cool. And so it goes, adapting to the new land requires a modification to the home, till the following spring, when relatives arrive on the ship from England, it is a very different house than the one William knew in the Old World. The author presents each change as a logical response to new conditions. The major difficulty with the text is the time frame. Many an early settler (or modern homeowner), would consider William a miracle worker. In a single season he manages to turn a wooded plot into a substantial house with a wood floor, shingle roof, and picket fence and still plants and harvests a crop of corn. The first-time illustrator provides attractive watercolor paintings of the construction from beginning to end, but suffers from the same excess as the author. This colonial home is chock-full of furniture and furnishings that would be the envy of many longtime Williamsburg residents. Still, minor flaws do not detract from this attractive debut and the point is well-taken. (Picture book. 7-9)

ISBN: 0-7613-1674-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Millbrook