________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 39. . . .June 8, 2018


One House.

Sarah MacNeill.
Victoria, BC: Orca Books, Sept., 2018.
26 pp., boardbook, pdf & epub., $9.95 (bb.).
ISBN 978-1-4598-1659-6 (bb.), ISBN 978-1-4598-1660-2 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-1661-9 (epub).

Preschool / Ages 2-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

***˝ /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.




Ten toucans

drawing plans


The board book One House is both a counting book from 1-10, albeit in reverse order, and a broad, general overview of the steps involved in constructing a house, the process beginning with 10 anthropomorphic toucans who have created the architectural drawings for a two-story home. Nine moles then excavate a hole for the basement before eight crabs pour the concrete slabs on which the structure will rest. And so it goes with a descending number of creatures, including owls, bears, snails, cats, foxes and bees, each contributing a necessary step, until finally:

All for
one house...

...fit for a mouse!

     In the illustration for the “1" page, a standing mouse can be seen outside the finished house, its eyes being covered by one of the builder cats. That illustration, plus the challenge text on the closing spread, “Psst, did you find the heart hidden on each page?”, could lead to a conversation about the mouse’s prior awareness of the house’s construction and the builders’ motivation. That the house bears a banner reading “WELCOME HOME” could also spark discussions about where the mouse might have been that it would need to be welcomed back.

      One House, with its simple rhyming text, works well as a counting book. In the main, what is to be counted is well-differentiated, the sole exception possibly being the illustration for “Seven owls” which might be challenging for the youngest “counters” as one of the owls near the gutter may not be immediately identified as being an owl. Given the board book’s intended young audience, its house construction aspect may be of lesser interest.

      Overall, One House would be an excellent home purchase and a welcome addition to the counting book collections of libraries serving preschoolers.


Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

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