When I was little, I was fascinated with the different types of houses people had all around the world. I would have treasured this beautiful book with its imaginative survey of houses around the planet and even beyond it! And it doesn’t just cover the habitats of people: for example, one page shows the home of a raccoon, and one shows the home of a Norse god.
Author/illustrator Carson Ellis adds many little informative features to let you know about life in each type of home. The picture of a Russian home, for instance, includes a samovar on the table and an onion-domed church out the kitchen window. She also cleverly shows you how the very same home can look quite different, as with her comparison of a “clean” home versus a “messy” home. All the pictures convey the author’s sense of wonder with both the natural and the magical.
The homes follow one after the other in a related progression with simple lyrics that have a Dr. Seuss-like feel. They convey all that is necessary.
Ellis’s artwork, evocative of folklore and fairytales, may seem familiar because of her illustrations for the book series “Wildwood Chronicles,” written by Ellis’s husband, Colin Meloy. (One of the pictures – of a home in an apartment – shows some graffiti: “I love CM.”)
Discussion: I could spend hours looking at the pictures in this book, ferreting out half-hidden delightful details. Curious kids will want to seek out more information from her tantalizing taste of other worlds. I imagine kids might want to know, to name but a few things: What is this Atlantis that looks so intriguing? What is the story behind the gourd birdhouses shown in Kenya? How can I find out more about the seahorses that live in “sea homes”? Who might live on a mountain top?
Evaluation: This book is full of treats and surprises, and will provide hours of entertainment. The art work is just lovely.
Published by Candlewick Press, 2015