Wednesday, February 20, 2013
How A House is Built by Gail Gibbons
Rating: 5 stars
After reading and falling in love with Building Our Home by Jonathan Bean, Ben became interested in how houses are built. So I've found as many books about building homes as I can. This one, by the leader in how-to/informative books Gail Gibbons, is the best we've found.
Usually I'd recommend Gibbons' books for kindergarten and grade school kids. They are always jam-packed with information--in a good way, but there are usually TOO many details for four year olds like Ben. This one, though, is a great exception. It's a bare-bones book, providing first an overview of the types of houses that exist. (In case you wondered, Ben would prefer live in a glass house. I informed him that's not a wise choice if he plans on inviting his brother Kiefer in as Kiefer is currently in a let-me-throw-anything-and-everything stage.)
After that very brief introduction--that is done through more illustrations and few words--Gibbons begins to explain the many steps it takes into building a house. There are so many lessons that can be drawn from this book...I hardly know where to begin! One of my favorite lessons to show Ben is in the general contractor area--the architect recommends one to be in charge of a team (team! team work! everyone does their part!) that work together (did you hear that? work together!) to get the job done right (right! not partially right!). Also, I love explaining that everything is done by steps. We follow recipes; Kiefer learns how to run; we climb mountains; they get to high school....EVERYTHING is done one step at a time. I think this is comforting for my kids--I know it is for me.
Now we could have stopped there with the book and the life lessons, but...why? I called a friend of mine who is a general contractor; might he have any projects we could visit to show Ben how a house is built, rather than just reading the words in a book? It was our lucky day--Sidd said that they were starting a new house just 25 minutes away from ours. So today after school, we stopped by for a visit. I hope it'll be the first of many.
As Ben and I drove to the site, I asked him if he had any questions. Ben is Mr. Question, so he already had a few for Mr. Kashyap. First, what kind of house is he building? Second, who is it for? After some more chatting, we realized we had two more questions: How long will it take to build the house? And finally: Can we check out the blueprints of the house?
When we got there we were totally excited. Everyone drives past excavators all the time, but we had permission to park, get out, and watch up close! Way cool. So we did just that. Sidd was tied up in the county's office so we asked our questions via text. (A frame house; there's no buyer yet...you can buy it if you want...click here for more information; five months; yes, the plans are online.) We will return late next week to see concrete poured for the foundation.
We finished up our Mommy and one son outing with milk for Ben, tea for me, and a shared chocolate chip cookie. In all, a rather fine afternoon!