If You Lived Here: Houses of the World


Step into unique homes from around the world and discover the many fascinating ways in which people live and have lived.

If you lived in the mountains of southern Spain, your bedroom might be carved out of a mountain. If you lived in a village in South Africa, the outside of your house might tell the story of your family. And if you lived in a floating green house in the Netherlands, you could rotate your house to watch both the sunrise and ...

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Step into unique homes from around the world and discover the many fascinating ways in which people live and have lived.

If you lived in the mountains of southern Spain, your bedroom might be carved out of a mountain. If you lived in a village in South Africa, the outside of your house might tell the story of your family. And if you lived in a floating green house in the Netherlands, you could rotate your house to watch both the sunrise and sunset.
With intricate bas-relief collages, Giles Laroche uncovers the reason why each home was constructed the way in which it was, then lets us imagine what it would be like to live in homes so different from our own.

Showing the tremendous variety of dwellings worldwide—log cabins, houses on stilts, cave dwellings, boathouses, and yurts—this book addresses why each house is build the way that it is. Reasons—such as blending into the landscape, confusing invaders, being able to travel with one's home, using whatever materials are at hand—are as varied as the homes themselves.

List of Houses included:

Dogtrot log house, based on dogtrots built in the southern U.S.
Chalet, based on chalets built in the Austrian Alps.
Pueblo, Taos, New Mexico
Connected barn, based on connected barns common in northern New England.
Cave dwelling, Guadix, Andalucia, Spain
Palafitos (house on stilts), Chiloe Island, Chile
Palazzo Dario, Venice, Italy
Chateau La Brede, Bordeaux, France
Tulou, Hangkeng village, Yongding, China
Half-timbered houses, Miltenberg am Main, Germany
Greek island village houses, Astipalaia Island, Greece
Decorated houses of Ndebele, Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa
Yurt, based on yurts in Mongolia and other parts of central Asia.
Airstream trailer, USA
Floating house, Middleburg, the Netherlands
Tree house, USA

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This exemplary title can inspire readers as well as educate them."—School Library Journal, starred review

"With such small connections, Laroche emphasizes the similarities over the differences, making this volume both an informative sampling of domestic architecture and a meaningful representation of global culture."—Booklist

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
The text about the fifteen houses from around the world that are depicted in this excellent informational picture book begins with a conversational paragraph, opening "If you lived here..." followed by data about each house in smaller type, including House Type; Materials, Location, Date; and Fascinating Fact. The houses included a full range of cultures and time periods, from a medieval castle to the timeless treehouse. But what is sure to draw in younger and older readers are the amazing illustrations. 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. At the same time, little ones are likely to need some help making sense of sophisticated descriptions such as "thought to be the first floating house that can rotate mechanically." Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5—This intriguing exploration of homes around the world has something to offer a wide range of readers. Laroche's stunningly intricate bas-relief cut-paper collages take center stage, though the text is cleverly designed to appeal to multiple audiences. Large-font text suitable for sharing with a group appears on each spread, building on the title by inviting readers to contemplate the everyday experiences of living in 16 types of dwellings, from having to "step outside to get from your bedroom to the kitchen" in a dogtrot log house, to being able to "catch fish from your bedroom window" in a Chilean palafitos (house on stilts). Smaller-font text on each page offers additional background on the house's location, construction, and history. The diverse abodes include Spanish cave dwellings, Fujian tulous, Mediterranean whitewashed villages, Mongolian yurts, and even an entirely "green" Dutch floating house. This exemplary title can inspire readers as well as educate them.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews

Many North American children have a difficult time visualizing places or houses different than their own; this survey will help somewhat.

The dwelling places pictured here will enlarge their knowledge base to some extent, but due to the limited representations (only 15 types of housing), readers will still need additional sources to understand shelter in a fuller geographic or historic context. Laroche's engagingly intricate, bas-relief collages provide a sense of the environments andthe people living in the houses. A range from a "dogtrot log house" (mid-Atlantic or southern U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries) with two living spaces connected by a long roof and walk-through space to a 1986 Dutch high tech" green" floating house that can turn on its own platform. Other houses include a Venetian palazzo (confusingly, the author says... "the floor of the bottom story is water!") and a Fujian tulou, a round, "rammed earth" structure (the one depicted was built in China in 1912). The text includes house type, materials, location, date and a (sometimes) "fascinating fact." On a sexist note, the last spread teams to show three boys working on a treehouse. Overall weaknesses involve too much emphasis on European and U.S. examples and a map that links the styles to their geographic areas without marked political boundaries.

Best used to encourage children to create their own collages or three-dimensional models, this misses the mark as a strong introduction to domestic architecture. (selected sources) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547238920
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 117,003
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: NC1170L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Brilliant at bas-relief cut-paper collage, Giles Laroche is the illustrator of several picture books—including What Do Wheels Do All Day (Houghton) and Bridges are to Cross—many of which have generated starred reviews and foreign and special sales.    He lives in Salem, MA and in the summer moves to an old barn in New Hampshire.

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