BUILDING OUR HOUSE by Jonathan Bean
Kirkus Star

BUILDING OUR HOUSE

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Bean sets aside the urban setting of his Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner, At Night (2007), in this homage to his back-to-the-land parents, who built his childhood home in the 1970s.

Told from the perspective of Bean’s older sister, the story revels in the practical work of house-building, demystifying the stages of construction in a matter-of-fact, engaging tone. The oversized, portrait format echoes the height of the house the family builds, but front endpapers first show a vast, rural landscape in the foreground of which lies the “weedy field Dad and Mom bought from a farmer.” Frontmatter depicts them packing and leaving the city. Ensuing spreads detail how they live in a trailer on their new property while slowly building the house: setting the corners of the foundation; digging out the basement; gathering rocks and using them in the foundation; measuring, marking and cutting timber for the frame; and so on. The scene depicting a frame-raising party situates the little homesteading family in a loving community of relatives and friends who gather to help; then, right after they all move in, the family grows when both Mom and the pet cat have babies. Throughout, the watercolor-and-ink illustrations invite close examination for narrative details such as these while also providing ample visual information about construction.

Raise the roof for this picture book. It’s something special. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-38023-6
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2012




BEST PICTURE BOOKS OF 2013 ABOUT FAMILY & FRIENDS:

ChildrenBUILDING OUR HOUSE by Jonathan Bean
by Jonathan Bean
ChildrenDEEP IN THE SAHARA by Kelly Cunnane
by Kelly Cunnane
ChildrenGRANDMA AND THE GREAT GOURD by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
ChildrenGOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT by Mem Fox
by Mem Fox

MORE BY JONATHAN BEAN

ChildrenBIG SNOW by Jonathan Bean
by Jonathan Bean
ChildrenONE STARRY NIGHT by Lauren Thompson
by Lauren Thompson

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenHOME by Carson Ellis
by Carson Ellis
ChildrenMOUSE HOUSE by Susan Pearson
by Susan Pearson
ChildrenTIME FOR CRANBERRIES by Lisl H. Detlefsen
by Lisl H. Detlefsen