Saturday, September 12, 2009

There's No Place Like Home: A Request for Books about Houses

This week, the little guy requested books about houses at the library (I like to ask him before we go what kind of books he would like to hunt for).  I immediately thought of the Little House, by Virginia Lee Burton, but I couldn't think of any others off the top of my head.  A quick look at the catalog resulted in many books about haunted houses, and a few about treehouses (it just occurred to me that I could have tried a subject search for "moving").  The librarian recommended the first of the two books below.  The second one I happened upon on the shelves. 

On Meadowview Street (Hardcover), by Henry Cole. A sweet story about a girl named Caroline who moves into a new house on Meadowview Street. Caroline's efforts to protect a single flower from her father's lawn mower escalate into the creation of a full fledged meadow, complete with birds and butterflies, a maple tree, birdhouses, and a pond. In the end, her neighbors follow suit, creating "a home for everyone." I like the way her parents assist her with her plans. Her father starts off standing by with a bemused expression as he mows, but later he's in the workshop with her building birdhouses and then out digging a hole for the pond with his shovel (Caroline is hard at work too, wearing goggles in the workshop and touting wood and rocks). As for mom, she stands by happily snapping photos.


"The mower came to a halt. 'Daddy!' Caroline pleases. 'Couldn't you mow around my flower?' 'Hmph,' he said, thinking, Well, that's less mowing for me!"

Bookworm's interest at 21 months: I think it is more suited for a slightly older child, but he did read through the whole book and has since requested it again a few more times. He enjoys seeing the trees, birds, lawn mower, etc. and seems to understand at least the first part of the story.

Jack's House (Hardcover), by Karen Magnuson Beil. A humorous take-off on the popular House that Jack Built rhyme, Jack's House sets out to correct a misconception: "You've probably heard about the house that Jack built. But what you've heard is all wrong. I know because I, Max, was there -- and working like a dog. Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you a story . . . " reads the front flap. Turns out Max the dog did all the work. And much to the delight of transportation-loving toddlers, he used a lot of heavy machinery to do it. The pages feature large two-page spreads of a bulldozer, backhoe, cement mixer, fork lift, rack truck, boom truck, dump truck, and van. The text (see excerpt) uses the pattern of the popular rhyme, and the conclusion sets out to right the wrong, by reclaiming the "house that MAX built" for its rightful owner.


"This is the cement mixer that poured the floor where the cellar was dug where the land was scraped for Jack's house."

Bookworm's interest at 21 months: He did get through it, but he generally doesn't sit still for this kind of repetitive language (the paragraphs get longer and longer as the book progresses. I think it might work better for toddler attention spans if text went the OTHER way, starting out long and getting shorter). If I just page through the book with him looking at the vehicles, then he loves it (of course).

Do you have any other books about houses that you like? Do you also like to ask your kids what kind of books they'd like at the library? What do usually ask for?


Jennifer said...

I like Jack and Jill's Treehouse by Pamela Edwards, but that's probably going to be too old.

Christy said...

I know you mentioned it, but we like The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. We also have A Little House of Your Own by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers and my children like it; they love the simple 1950s drawings in the book. Miss Twiggley's Tree by Dorothea Warren Fox is also a great read about a woman who lives in a tree. Your son might be a little young for it, but my daughter (3) has liked it for a while now. I would LOVE to ask the librarians for help finding books but unfortunately our librarians seem annoyed if we ever ask for anything. They are not very friendly.

Beth said...

Have you ever read "A House is a House for Me" by Mary Ann Hoberman? It's one I remember from my childhood, and my son loves it now!

Infant Bibliophile said...

Thanks for the book ideas -- we haven't tried any of those, and I'll put them on our list.

Brimful Curiosities said...

I haven't read it yet but "Creaky Old House: A Topsy-Turvy Tale Of A Real Fixer-Upper" by Linda Ashman looks fun.

We own a copy of "This is My House" by Richard Scarry. I think it is out-of-print. Though some of the terms are dated, my kids still like talking about all the things shown in the homes as well as the different areas of the home.

Infant Bibliophile said...

Oh, we're huge Richrd Scarry fans around here, so I bet that'll be a hit. I think I've seen that at the library too, and just didn't get it because I figured a lot of Scarry's books overlap and we've read a LOT of them lately. But the next time he asks for a book about houses (which might be next time again), I'll definitely look for that one. Thanks!

Marjorie said...

I don't know if it's still available but I had my old copy of "Come Over to My House" by Theo. Le Sieg - a Dr Seuss I-Can-Read-It-All-By-Myself book - all about children and their houses all over the world... And I recently reviewed a beautiful book called Homes by Yanh-Huan/ H.Y.Huang ( ) - it's a single poem, beautifully illustrated, so not many words to take in but lovely imagery...