Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BUILDING BOY by Ross Montgomery


by Ross Montgomery ; illustrated by David Litchfield

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-571-31409-6
Publisher: Faber & Faber

A little white boy completes Grandma’s dream house with a hammer and a bit of magic.

Grandma used to be an architect. She built “the tallest skyscrapers, the most beautiful palaces,” and many other buildings. Every night the little boy sits in Grandma’s lap in Grandma’s favorite chair in the study, in front of a roaring fire, and looks at photographs from Grandma’s past. She plans to build a beautiful house for the two of them that will be on a hill on the horizon beyond the sea. But time is marching on; Grandma becomes too old to build a house, to make dinner, to climb the stairs. One day, the boy comes home to find her gone, and now the house is “just rooms.” But he has an idea. He works for months building, through wind and snow and rain. Finally, he has it: a gigantic…grandmother! (There’s a little chimney sprouting from her metallic blue hair.) She takes him by the hand and leaps into the air. They fly over gigantic fields, walk on the ocean, and scale tall skyscrapers. Finally, he sees it. On a hill above the city and across the sea sits the house that Grandma has started for him. It becomes The Building Boy’s School for Young Architects. Montgomery’s imaginative tale of grief and legacy is refreshingly untethered by logic. Litchfield’s illustrations amplify his themes with originality and a warm palette.

Sad and sweet.

(Picture book. 4-7)