The House That Crack Built

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Overview

With a beat reminiscent of hip-hop or rap music, a well-known nursery rhyme is brilliantly transformed into a powerful poem about the tragic problem of illegal drugs and its victims. The rhythmic text, which is realistic but not moralizing, will appeal to teenagers and adults. It is also accessible for even very young children, making this a valuable resource for parents, teachers, librarians, caregivers, and everyone who is looking for a way to broach this difficult subject. ...
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Overview

With a beat reminiscent of hip-hop or rap music, a well-known nursery rhyme is brilliantly transformed into a powerful poem about the tragic problem of illegal drugs and its victims. The rhythmic text, which is realistic but not moralizing, will appeal to teenagers and adults. It is also accessible for even very young children, making this a valuable resource for parents, teachers, librarians, caregivers, and everyone who is looking for a way to broach this difficult subject. Full color.

Cumulative verses describe the creation, distribution, and destructive effects of crack cocaine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A familiar nursery rhyme takes a decidedly dark turn in this sobering picture book. Written in a hip - hop rhythm and based on ``The House That Jack Built,'' the new cumulative rhyme focuses attention on the drug trade and abuse of crack cocaine. No stone is left unturned as the text demonstrates the drug's ripple effect that begins with exploited South American coca farmers--``These are the Farmers who work in the heat''--and ends up invading urban neighborhoods also infested with gangs, violence, despair and hopelessness: ``This is the Street of a town in pain''; ``This is the Girl who's killing her brain.'' Dicks uses muted, somber colors and almost cubist figures and images to illustrate crack's lethal potential. The picture book format is well-suited to presentation of this subject matter to a wide audience--younger readers can readily digest the sparse text and ask questions about the art, while older children and adults may use the book as a jumping off point for more involved discussion. All of the publisher's proceeds from the book will go to drug education, prevention and rehabilitation programs that specifically help children. All ages. May
School Library Journal
K Up-- A picture book that uses the patterns and rhymes of the traditional ``House That Jack Built,'' this tells of the despairing trail of crack/cocaine from the cultivation of ``. . . the plants that people can't eat,'' to the addicted mother and baby, the overworked cop, and the other victims and villains of the inner-city drug trade. The handsome, somber modernist paintings echo Picasso's earliest proto-Cubist work, and will appeal to an older age group, although the strong line, touches of bright color, and representational style do make them accessible to younger children. It will work best for any age when introduced by an adult and used as the basis for serious discussion. An afterword for adults by PBS activist Michael Pritchard and a brief list of national organizations working in addiction services are appended. This is a unique book, disturbing but valuable. The challenge will be where to shelve it and how to introduce it. --Rosanne Cerny, Queens Borough Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811801232
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 7/1/1992
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.75 (w) x 7.75 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Clark Taylor has worked as a bartender, an oil field laborer, and a jail services volunteer but now makes his living as a comedian. Mr. Taylor lives in New York City.

Jan Thompson Dicks is the illustrator of The House That Crack Built, published by Chronicle Books in 1992 to extraordinary critical acclaim. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2001

    Masterful!

    This is an excellent resource. I've used this book in storytelling for both children and adults since the first printing in 1992. The message of the horrors of the drug trade in urban life is still real, appropriate, and thought-provoking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2001

    A wake up call for anyone who said they never knew

    This book was read to us in english, to relate drugs with go ask alice. I think its a great book for everyone (adults too). The author describes the urban city drug trade in few words but with strong meaning. It shows that just one person can start and ruin the lives of others far beyond there reach. Its a big reality check.

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