Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil
Format/Age: Picture Book / Pre-K to K
Genre: Dogs, houses, construction
This is the true story of the house that Jack supposedly built. Spoiler alert, it was actually Jack’s dog Max that built the house. This delightful retelling of a classic story is one that will definitely interest children. It has the repetitive story arch, with each page adding to the previous lines. Max takes us step-by-step through the process of building a house. What I like about this book is that it is full of construction trucks and shows how a house is actually built.
This is the backhoe
that dug the cellar
where the land was scraped
for Jack’s house.
On and on it goes, until we see Jack relaxing out back on a hammock while Max does all the work. The illustrations are full-page color explosions and the repetitive text make it ideal for a preschool storytime. I would include a reading of the original story, or a flannelboard story of the original nursery rhyme. This book is also a great gateway to discuss the different concepts of teamwork, taking credit for someone else’s work, as well as hard work and pride. This is a great book for preschoolers because they’ll be starting to do more group activities as they grow older, and this book really highlights the powers of working with an effective team and having everyone put in their full support.
Primary Reading Skills
New Words (Vocabulary) This book will introduce children to construction work jargon, as well as a host of different concepts regarding teamwork and plagiarism.
Tell a Story (Narrative Skills) The repetitive text will help children keep in mind the different vocabulary they are learning, as well as helping with reading comprehension as they are consistently adding onto the previous page’s events.
How to use this book
For the librarians
This is great book for storytime. Different themes: House & Home, Construction Time, Hard Work, Dogs
For the parents
Use this book to talk about your own home, point out the similar features that Max is building within your home (windows, brick walls, the roof). Look for these same constructions when are you are out and about. Have your child take guesses at what is being built when you pass by a construction site. This will engage your child’s imagination as well as keep them occupied in the car for lengthier drives.
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