As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

September 2, 2013

IF I BUILT A HOUSE by Chris Van Dusen, 2012

The much-anticipated follow-up to the E. B. White Award-winning picture book If I Built a Car. In If I Built a Car, imaginative Jack dreamed up a whimsical fantasy ride that could do just about anything. Now he's back and ready to build the house of his dreams, complete with a racetrack, flying room, and gigantic slide. Jack's limitless creativity and infectious enthusiasm will inspire budding young inventors to imagine their own fantastical designs. Chris Van Dusen's vibrant illustrations marry retro appeal with futuristic style as he, once again, gives readers a delightfully rhyming text that absolutely begs to be read aloud. (Amazon)

Reviewed by Kim Harris Thacker: mommy, writer, and Bookshop Talk host

Like many other kids, Jack loves to build miniature houses using a variety of materials such as Legos, Lincoln Logs, and blocks. But he doesn’t stop there; Jack also creates complex blueprints for his unique abodes, incorporating into his sketches designs for those elements that transform a house into a home fit for a king—or an imaginative kid. 

Jack's most recent plan, which he shares with his mother, reveals, among other architectural gems, a racetrack room, an anti-gravity room, and a flyable, jet-powered playroom. Jack’s plan also shows the inventions he dreams will fill his home and make daily life that much easier on everyone. Such inventions include a robotic kitchen that cooks all kinds of food and tidies up afterward and a bathroom that cleans a person in much the same way that an automatic carwash scours a car. 

Anyone—but especially those readers who possess a great imagination and a fondness for fun—will love Jack’s architectural style, which comes to life through this book’s retro-inspired illustrations and tight rhymes. IF I BUILT A HOUSE will charm readers, parents, and librarians again and again, likely leading them to creating their own designs for unique homes. Even the end papers, which are covered in blueprint-style illustrations, are worthy of study.

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