Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Building our house by Jonathan Bean

Building our house is a wonderful picture book written from the heart and based on the family life of the author/illustrator.

Mum, Dad and the two children move from the city and begin the adventure of building a new house way out in the country - building the whole house themselves from scratch.  We watch as Dad hammers in four posts.

"On a clear, cold night Dad sets the corners of the foundation by the North Star.  One wall will face north to ward off the wind, one east to welcome the morning, one south to soak in the sun, and one west to see out the day."

I love all the little details in the illustrations.  You will see a white cat join the family and as time goes on she has a litter of kittens.  Towards the end mum is visibly pregnant and then we see her holding a little baby on their new veranda.  I also love the way mum is wearing glasses.  It is interesting that we don't see characters wearing glasses very often in picture books.

Along with the family the other character in this book is the weather and seasons.  Jonathan Bean does a brilliant job to show the warm summer days with the children splashing in a little paddling pool.  After the community and family come for a splendid day to raise the house frame you can see the autumn leaves changing colour in the background.  Then as the house is almost complete the rain, wind and winter snows arrive.

I have two favourite pages in this book.  There is a double spread showing the floor plan for the house complete with pencil shavings, nails and a hammer along with a set of paint colour cards and a steaming cup of coffee.  I also love the final scene where the family (now with three children) are sitting together on the lounge, mum and the baby are asleep and dad is reading a story to the little girl.  "Once the moving is done everyone goes back to their homes, but my family stays right where we are.  It's our very first night in our new home."   I am sure you have noticed the word HOME! Yes they built a HOUSE but now it is their home.

Everything about this book is special.  It will be enjoyed by children of all ages and by their parents too. Here is the author web site.  Take the time to look at some of his terrific illustrations.  If I have not convinced you to read this book then take a look at this review.  Here is an interview with the author - he looks so young!

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