CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Grete Janus Hertz.
Illustrations by Iben Clante.

Toronto, Annick Press, c1982.
unpaged, paperbound boards, $10.95.
ISBN 0-920236-15-4.

Grades 1-4.
Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

The unique design of this book reflects its content. The cover of The Yellow House shows the yellow brick facade of a six-unit apartment building. The book opens to show three children climbing the three levels of the building. A sign lists the names of the six families who live there. The text on the left side sets the tone by explaining that "each person is different from the next, and lives differently." The reader is then invited to meet the families.

On the right side are six paperback books stapled in two rows of three each. Each small book represents an apartment unit and is illustrated with a door and a name plate. Realistic touches are given by such signs as "Call between 5-7" on the caretaker's door and "Walk in" on the music teacher's door. Each small book tells a story about that particular family and the families are realistically diverse: a family headed by a single parent, a two-parent family, an elderly couple, a single person.

I highly recommend this book for young children in grades 1 to 4. It is particularly valuable in that it portrays life in an apartment, where many youngsters live, as well as different sorts of families. It also encourages a sense of community on a meet-your-neighbour basis. The small size of the inner books will appeal to young children. So take some protective measures, such as taping the spines of the paperback stories, before placing the book on a library shelf. A Gold Medal winner at the Bologna International Children's Book Fair.

Patricia Fry, Toronto, ON.
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