Every page in this delightful non-fiction picture book offers a unique view into a different type of home, the reasons behind its design features, and a brief history of its people. Stunningly-beautiful collage illustrations, loads of detail, interesting facts and figures, and just the right amount of information come together to make this a book that will both captivate and educate readers of all ages.
Each two-page spread is dedicated to a different type of house from a Medieval chateau and an early American log cabin, to a Greek “white town” village structure that is still built today, and even an aluminum trailer for traveling and camping. The intricate cut-paper collage illustrations combine drawing, cutting, painting and gluing, and will have readers poring over the tiny details. It’s just the type of illustration that draws in and fascinates young readers, who will want to take their time with each of the detailed scenes, which include not only the structures, but also people, animals, landscaping, and all the other little things that make a house a home.
But it’s not just the beautifully-colorful illustrations that tell the story of each home. Each dwelling also has an introductory paragraph, “If you lived here…” with a few examples of what life would be like. Furthermore, below the paragraph is a short section of more extensive information, including House Type, Materials, Location, Dates, and Fascinating Facts. This layering of information makes the book appropriate for a broad span of ages: younger ones can appreciate the illustrations while someone reads the text for them, and older readers can learn a little (or a lot) about each home.
This is a book unlike any other. It combines aspects of U.S history, world history, architecture, cultural heritage, and lifestyle. Giles Laroche has done a tremendous job of introducing some of the most unique types of homes in the world to children, and I would venture to guess that their curiosity will be piqued, and they will want to go on to learn even more!
Reviewed by KSD
Themes: PICTURE BOOKS FOR OLDER READERS, SOCIAL STUDIES, CITIES & TOWNS, U.S. HISTORY, (WORLD HISTORY), (ARCHITECTURE)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
Suggested Ages: 6-10