________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 32. . . .April 24, 2015


Look Where We Live! A First Book of Community Building.

Scot Ritchie.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-77138-102-4.

Subject Headings:
Communities-Juvenile literature.
Community living-Juvenile literature.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

***1/2 /4



Shopping Locally

The gang’s first stop is Nick’s house. His family is raising money for the library by selling things they no longer want or need. People call this a yard sale, garage sale or lawn sale. Nick has put out some toys he doesn’t play with anymore. If he can sell all his dinosaurs, he can make $4.00.

Nick will donate the money he makes. Donating means you give something to help a good cause. You can donate money, things or your time.


A companion book to Scot Ritchie’s previous interactive picture books Follow That Map! and Look at That Building!, this title explores the idea of community for youngest readers. Using the same group of kids once again, and beginning with an aerial view of the neighbourhood for a visual reinforcement of ‘community’, the storyline is built around a street fair to raise money for the library. Double-page spreads then describe various sites that many kids will find in their own communities: lawn sales, car wash, school, retirement home, library, community garden and sports field. Related concepts, such as community workers (police, firefighters, sanitation workers), are mentioned, and the author weaves in values of respect (taking turns lining up, obeying rules regarding pets in buildings, cleaning up), cooperation, altruism, support, teamwork and sportsmanship. The street fair activities culminate with everyone helping out, and readers are invited to consider ways they could contribute to building their own community.

internal art     A hands-on craft is included in the book: make a puzzle. The instructions in the same large type and straightforward language used throughout the book are simple enough for youngsters familiar with jigsaw puzzles to tackle (with the added caution to ask an adult for help with cutting out the pieces). After using skills of drawing, colouring, gluing and puzzle assembly, kids can share the activity with a friend.

     A brief page of “Words to Know” completes the book to help with possible new terms, such as “community”, “community worker” and “donate”, although these particular words were already well-defined in the context of the story.

     Lively watercolours that take up three-quarters of each spread are generously detailed to engage young readers/listeners, enhancing the story and inviting observations about the many ways to participate in an activity. Along with the group of friends, little dog Max trots through the illustrations adding his own brand of humour, and Ollie the cat finds a place doing what cats do best. Kids will have fun spotting the pets, as well as searching for the five friends (a la Where’s Waldo?) among the crowded fair in the final drawing (clue: look for hairstyles!).

      This book will serve several purposes: an appealing picture book to enjoy, an informative introduction to the concept of community, a discussion-starter with an adult (to help make use of the questions sprinkled throughout the story), and perhaps inspiration for kids to extend this primary understanding of community by finding ways to learn more about their own neighbourhoods. It’s a fine addition to the series.

Highly Recommended.

Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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