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[Nonfiction Wednesday] A Concept Book On What A House Means in “A House Is A House For Me”

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Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2016 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.


I bought this book in one of the non-bookish places ever – Savers in Las Vegas. People may not be aware that you could actually purchase picturebooks at 69 cents in this unlikely place. Yes. That cheap. That is why I went crazy the last time I was there just getting my hands on so many books, and here is one of them.


A House Is A House For Me

Written by: Mary Ann Hoberman Illustrated by: Betty Fraser
Published by: Scholastic, Inc. 1978 ISBN: 0140503943 (ISBN13: 9780140503944). Book Award: National Book Award for Children’s Picture Books (Paperback) (1983) 
Personal copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I normally don’t go for rhyming text – but there are instances when the play with words is so ingenious and refreshing that I reconsider, and fall in love with the rhythm of the language all over again. Such is the case with this brilliantly-conceived picturebook about the many different ways a house can be defined:


A web is a house for a spider.

A bird builds its nest in a tree.

There is nothing so snug as a bug in a rug.

And a house is a house for me!

The last line provides a refrain for young children to easily remember and recite with glee during read-alouds. Apart from providing interesting information about the different types of dwellings across varied creatures (see below):


… it also extends the idea further by noting how any space that encloses even a thought or an idea can be a “house” for it (see below):


Recall that this book was published in 1978. While the images do look outdated, the vivid colours, the dynamic art render it timeless. Have you even imagined your boot being a house for your foot? How clever, indeed. I particularly like how the images portray intertextuality and references to other favourite stories, see the two photos below:


Do you know what story this was culled from?


I so loved seeing Ferdinand here and the idea of: “A book is a house for a story.” I have so many houses in my home! And if one thinks in this fashion, anything can be a house to anything! Beautiful.

To make life even more interesting for you, I found this youtube clip of the coolest houses in the world. Enjoy!

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