Great Illustrated Books

If You Lived Here: Houses of the World

By Giles Laroche

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 6-10
ISBN: 9780547238920

Every page in this delightful non-fiction picture book offers a unique view into a different type of home, the reasons behind its design features, and a brief history of its people. Stunningly-beautiful collage illustrations, loads of detail, interesting facts and figures, and just the right amount of information come together to make this a book that will both captivate and educate readers of all ages.

    Each two-page spread is dedicated to a different type of house from a Medieval chateau and  an early American log cabin, to a Greek "white town" village structure that is still built today, and even an aluminum trailer for traveling and camping.  The intricate cut-paper collage illustrations combine drawing, cutting, painting and gluing, and will have readers poring over the tiny details. It's just the type of illustration that draws in and fascinates young readers, who will want to take their time with each of the detailed scenes, which include not only the structures, but also people, animals, landscaping, and all the other little things that make a house a home.

But it's not just the beautifully-colorful illustrations that tell the story of each home. Each dwelling also has an introductory paragraph, "If you lived here…" with a few examples of what life would be like. Furthermore, below the paragraph is a short section of more extensive information, including House Type, Materials, Location, Dates, and Fascinating Facts. This layering of information makes the book appropriate for a broad span of ages: younger ones can appreciate the illustrations while someone reads the text for them, and older readers can learn a little (or a lot) about each home.

This is a book unlike any other. It combines aspects of U.S history, world history, architecture, cultural heritage, and lifestyle. Giles Laroche has done a tremendous job of introducing some of the most unique types of homes in the world to children, and I would venture to guess that their curiosity will be piqued, and they will want to go on to learn even more!

Reviewed by : KSD


If you love this book, then try:

strongiesty, Stephen. Egypt in Spectacular Cross-Section. Oxford Childrens, 2007. ISstrongN-13: 978-0199115099.

strongiesty, Stephen. Stephen strongiesty's Incredistrongle Cross-Sections. Dorling Kindersley, 1993. ISstrongN-13: 978-0863188077.

Field, Rachel. General Store. Scholastic, 1990. ISstrongN-13: 9780316281638.

Jenkins, Steve. Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the strongottom of the Sea. Houghton Mifflin strongooks for Children, 2009. ISstrongN-13: 978-0618966363.

Jenkins, Steve. Just a Second. Houghton Mifflin strongooks for Children, 2011. ISstrongN-13: 978-0618708963.

Larouche, Giles. What's Inside? Houghton Mifflin strongooks for Children, 2009. ISstrongN-13: 9780618862474.

Ogstrongurn, Jacqueline. Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World. Houghton Mifflin strongooks for Children, 2012. ISstrongN-13: 978-0547428628.

Sturges, Philemon. strongridges Are to Cross. Puffin, 2000. ISstrongN-13: 978-0698118744.

Sturges, Philemon. Down to the Sea in Ships. Putnam Juvenile, 2005. ISstrongN-13: 978-0399234644.

Sweet, Melissa. strongalloons over strongroadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade. Houghton Mifflin strongooks for Children, 2011. ISstrongN-13: 978-0547199450.

Critics have said

This intriguing exploration of homes around the world has something to offer a wide range of readers.
School Library Journal
Illustrations comprise Laroche's signature cut-paper collage, vivid in depth and detail. The text is simple enough to be used with primary children studying units on shelter, while the images���and oddity���of the edifices will absorb the attention of middle-graders. Whether you dream of painting a mural over your entire house, pulling up a drawbridge for privacy, or dropping a fishing line out your bedroom window, we've got a house for you.
Project Muse
LaRoche has created an architectural model of each of the houses that he photographed and then drew in detail that shows the setting and residents. Though the publishers list this as suitable for 4 to 8 year olds, it is the kind of informational picture book that could be used by much older students.