October 9, 2013
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
Building Our House
by Jonathan Bean
Farrar Straus Giroux
When the narrator, her parents and baby brother move to the field far outside the city, they have the tools and plans to build a house. That said, they will be living for quite some time in a tiny little trailer with little more than two windows and a chimney.
They story follows them as they haul supplies (lumber, sand and stone) and collect rocks from a nearby field. It shows them staking the corners of the foundation, building forms and chiseling beams. When, at long last, the frame is ready to go up, family and friends converge to get the job done in one short day.
For many of us, this story will read like fantasy. Hand me a hammer and look out — and, no, I don’t mean amazing progress is about to be made.
But this is based on Bean’s childhood — he is the little brother in the story. His parents bought a field and spent five years building their dream home. Bean has altered things somewhat since his house in done in a shorter time and the narrator is his older sister and not himself.
This book will appeal to young builders of both genders. Dad may be the one that hammers in the stakes but Mom isn’t watching soaps all day long.
In a culture where everything is instant and projects you can complete in a weekend, I think this book shows something important — a family together can do something big and wonderful. Yes, it might take some time, but the results will be well worth the efforts. It will appeal to those who like to get their hands dirty, get involved and make something all their own
Beans colored black line drawings bring the story to life in a straightforward appealing way.