If You Lived Here: Houses of the World
written and illustrated by Giles Laroche
2011 (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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If You Lived Here is a unique look at home architecture through the ages. Each two page spread begins with a paragraph highlighting an interesting feature of a particular home. The first home in the book is a dogtrot log house so you learn about the outdoor open hall that separates the two sections of the home. This means you would have to step outside to go from your bedroom to the kitchen. You might think twice about that midnight snack if you don't want to encounter a critter wandering through. Following the opening paragraph are five categories (House Type, Materials, Location, Date, and Fascinating Fact) that provide more information about each house. Fifteen different houses from five continents are featured. Venetian palaces from Italy, Fujian tulous from China, and the decorated houses of Ndebele in South Africa are some of the houses you will find in this book. The information is great, but the illustrations are what really get your attention. The detailed collage artwork is stunning. A world map with the locations of the fifteen houses is a fitting end to the book.
This would be an excellent book to use for teaching the skill of cause and effect. Giles Laroche gives explanations for the style of construction of each house. The paintings of the houses of Ndebele were newspapers for all in the village. The homes on Astipalaia Island in Greece are all painted white to reflect the heat and the homes are built close together to protect from the wind. Each home in the book has a reason for the way it was constructed. If You Lived Here is also a fun geography lesson. The land greatly influences the construction of each house. After reading this book, students may also want to create their own homes through the use of collage art.
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