cover image Built Together

Built Together

Mina Starsiak Hawk, illus. by Barbara Bongini. Zonderkidz, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-76928-6

Hawk, of HGTV’s Good Bones fame, makes her debut with this story—a child’s narrative about his sizeable family’s origins. Though he lives with only his parents and “our three goofy dogs,” the blond-haired, blue-eyed boy enjoys the community of grandparents, cousins, stepfamily, and even “friends who Mom says might as well be family.” Sporting a tool belt and wondering in literal construction terms how the family came about, he lists off various instruments: “I wonder if Mom and Dad built our family with a monkey wrench and pipes?” Bright, slick illustrations by Bongini (the Fairy Ponies series) depict him helping others with home projects, including tiling a kitchen and painting a house’s exterior. (Hawk’s fans will note visual nods to her Indianapolis home renovation business, Two Chicks and a Hammer, on the characters’ clothing.) Finally consulting his parents on the most appropriate tool for the job, he’s told that the true building blocks of family are love, kindness, and community, exemplified by “celebrating the good stuff together. And by helping each other with the tough stuff.” The bare-bones story doesn’t cover new ground, but readers who appreciate the author’s TV show will warm to its laudable message of inclusivity and the way that families can be built: one kind, welcoming act at a time. Ages 4–8. [em](Feb.) [/em]