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Author: Susanna Leonard Hill

Illustrator: Ken Wilson-Max

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Publisher: Little Simon, an Imprint of Simon and Schuster,

Material: board book

Summary: Mack is the construction supervisor and his team is building a house. From the skidder who brings the logs to the cement truck that pours the foundation, from page to page kids get to see how a house is put together. Remember the cumulative poem, "The house that Jack built?" This is an updated version of the poem with modern tools (large heavy machinery and vehicles) and they actually build a house. Backhoes, cement mixer, front loader. PLUS, it's a popup book! The big construction machines actually move! This is a pop-up board book that uses a rhyme scheme kids can have fun with.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 7; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 6

Reading Level: 2.8

Age of Child: Read with three brothers, 2, 4 and 6 years old.

Young Reader Reaction: My kids LOVED the popups in this book. I'm not sure they had the presence to understand the poem, as it was a bit complicated and long. But my 3 BOYS loved the popups.

Adult Reader Reaction: I loved the popups. I was very impressed by the way they worked and their inventive mechanisms. However, like most popups, it didn't take long for the kids to break them. Within 3 readings and they had broken 2, I fixed one and then it got broken again on the next reading. I thought the text was creative but difficult to read. The poem (following the original pattern) relies on rhythm and rhyming, but the rhyming scheme changed, and sometimes that pushed the paired rhymes on separate pages, which throws off the rhythm of the whole reading.

Pros: Bright colors (including the equipment!) and pop-ups will engage young kids while you read them this story about building a house.

Cons: The rhyming was awkward at times. With very young children you might want to supervise reading so the tools don't get broken or ripped.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. If you have a child who LOVES trucks and big equipment, you will definitely want to buy this one. Even if you don't read it, the pop-ups of the equipment working will engage them for hours.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THINGS THAT MOVE (Usborne First Words)   MY BIG RIG (Board Buddies Series)   SEYMOUR SIMON'S BOOK OF TRUCKS

Educational Themes: This is a book for exploring words and language. Kids will love learning about the pieces of equipment. You can also talk about how houses are built, and also talk about how things are done in steps or by teams.

Notes: The Reading Tub reviewed the book in conjunction with an Author Showcase feature.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, trucks, interactive learning, rhyme

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2010, August 2012

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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