An Asian boy on a skateboard describes a variety of domiciles.
Inside the contemporary house the child’s family (also Asian) lives in, family members are seen eating, sleeping, studying, watching TV (with retro rabbit ears), and talking on a wall phone, a mixture of details that may evoke the childhood of the author or illustrator. The narrator then takes off in an old-fashioned plane to describe houses in Thailand, Togo, Mongolia, Russia, and Greenland. Exteriors and interiors of the five houses appear in double-page spreads with explanatory text (in a small font) about materials, styles, and construction details embedded within the illustrations; each includes a family and its appropriate animals. The main text (in a large font) is simple and sometimes-awkward: “There are houses wherever people live. Even though houses have different appearances in every country, each one is someone’s precious home.” The explanatory text is a little more advanced and generally flows better. The choice of unusual houses, especially the felt gers of Mongolia and the clay houses of Togo, offers young readers a chance to explore aspects of everyday life in several countries. Refreshingly, the book takes care to emphasize that the Inuit of Greenland live in “wooden or brick houses,” and that igloos are temporary shelters used on hunting trips. The naïve illustrative style is eye-catching and friendly, and the photos in the back endpapers are a useful addition.
For young architects and kids interested in learning about the world. (Informational picture book. 5-8)