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Review of The Home Builders

The Home Builders
by Varsha Bajaj; illus. by Simona Mulazzani
Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g
2/19    978-0-399-16685-3    $17.99

This picture book invites children to observe nature for themselves as a variety of creatures busily create their homes: “Do you see the home builders?” The builders work “under the earth, / Below the bridge, / In the tall grass, / High on the ridge,” and the pictures show a mole digging underground, a beehive full of buzzing bees attached to the underside of a bridge, deer sheltering in the hollow of a hill, and an eagle in flight. “Do you see the builders work?” the book continues, going on to detail how, for example, the beaver gnaws wood and the mole digs underneath a row of root vegetables. Bajaj’s text is simple, specific, and active, reflecting the hard work of each type of creature to stay alive. The book concludes with the animals each in their own homes with their babies. Mulazzani’s mixed-media illustrations use soft colors and have a generally cozy feel, yet their clarity and precision allow viewers to spot even the smallest insects on the pages. Children can follow their favorite animal throughout and may come away with the (possibly) new idea that the animals they see outside must work to provide homes for their families, too.

From the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke About Susan Dove Lempke

Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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