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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Building a House

Eight years ago we began the plans to build an addition to our house. We love our usually quiet neighborhood, the easy access to trails, the lakes within a mile in every direction, the short distances to either downtown area, and the large yard. Building our library was the best home decision. It has become a place to gather and now holds countless strong memories.

I imagine the young narrator in Jonathan Bean's new book Building Our House feels the same way. Her family takes "the right tools for the right job" and "a good plan for a good house" and begins building their new house in the span of 1 1/2 years. Each step is explained in simple clarity, and his illustrations add wonderful details to the process. As the forms are being made for the concrete walls, the girl and her little brother climb dirt piles, just as my kids did during our construction process. The children and their cat assist when possible and sometimes just play in the inflatable pool while their parents move and cut beams. People come to help them at various stages, until finally the house is ready for occupants, including the baby sister and a kitten the readers might have observed growing.

The Author's Note and accompanying photographs explain that the process really did happen - only over 5 years time. He says, "Though I have vague memories of ladders and a cement mixer and a frame raising that have, no doubt, been enhanced by photographs my parents took (including the one of me above), this book's story is told from my older sister's point of view." It is fabulous narrative and an excellent way to demonstrate a process from start to finish.


  1. And, how long did it take your family to have the addition built, and did you take photos of the work in progress?

  2. Sounds like an interesting book on process, so kids can learn that construction is hard work. When I had renovations done I did take photos, but didn't write accounts.