By Jonathan Bean
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013
Words and pictures work together to tell the story of how a family (“a strong crew of four”) build their house. Based on the true story of how the author/illustrator’s family did build their house . . . over a period of 5 years with very young children (amazing!)
This is an excellent picture book in the true sense of words and pictures working together. The text is matter of fact, yet with touches of humor (as above) and even poetic moments:
“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.”
The pictures illustrate all the details of the work that goes into building a house, from the rocks and laying of the foundation to marking the beams. I love the additional details of how the children are helping (with measuring, etc.) or being entertained (swimming as the parents work on a hot summer day, bringing a flower to a grandmother (?) on a day with the whole extended family plus neighbors and others from the community gather to raise the frame of the house.)
Altogether a very fine picture book.