Owen loves reading but hates building. Katie loves building but hates reading. However, one day, each is forced to look beyond their interests.
Owen and Katie are siblings. Katie loves building with blocks, and Owen loves books. One day, they are caught by their school librarian arguing about the benefits of building versus reading. To push their boundaries, the librarian gives a pile of books to Katie to read and a pile of books to Owen to shelve. Both of them frown and ignore the librarian’s command. However, when Katie’s book castle falls and reveals a book titled Castle Engineering, her curiosity is piqued, and she begins to read. Similarly, when Owen takes a break from reading, he discovers he can build a cool tower with books! In no time, the siblings are sharing their joys of both building and reading. With repetitive, patterned, well-paced text, Lloyd weaves an enjoyable story while showcasing the benefits of trying something different and gently testing the boundaries of gender convention. Farley’s detailed and realistic illustrations are intriguing and playful, effectively using white space and vignettes to delineate the kids’ characters and activities. In addition to providing an added level of depth and beauty to the story, they depict Katie and Owen both with brown skin and black hair, and the librarian is a pants-wearing woman of color.
Engaging read combined with a solid lesson. (Picture book. 4-8)