Building Our House

Jonathan Bean, Author
Jonathan Bean. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-374-38023-6
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 48 pages - 978-1-4668-3008-0
Ebook - 48 pages - 978-1-4668-3007-3
Ebook - 48 pages - 978-1-4668-3006-6
DVD-Video - 978-0-9777098-3-0
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Not unlike Dan Yaccarino did in All the Way to America, Bean (At Night) turns family history into something larger, in this case a romantic portrait of the rewards of diligence, teamwork, and a DIY mentality. In a concluding note accompanied by family photos, Bean explains that the story is based on his family’s experience of building a farmhouse when he was a toddler. A sense of familial dedication and cohesiveness fills the pages, with narration coming from a character modeled after Bean’s older sister. The pale, matte illustrations are a flurry of activity (and filled with the sort of construction details that children adore), as the family equips a trailer to serve as temporary digs, buys lumber, builds a foundation, hosts a frame-raising party, and eventually turns to interior work. Bean’s pictures provide a supplementary visual narrative (Mom becomes pregnant, an infant appears), and the father offers suitably dadlike truisms like “The right tool for the right job” throughout. A warm look at the nuts and bolts of building a house and turning it into a home. Ages 3–6. Agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Jan.)
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