cover image This is My House

This is My House

Arthur Dorros. Scholastic, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45302-8

In his familiar, child-like style of naive watercolor and pencil illustration, Dorros attempts a picture-book overview of houses worldwide. More scattershot and larger in scope than last season's The House I Live In by Isadore Seltzer which focused only on America, Dorros's work includes 22 dwellings in such diverse locales as Turkey, Norway and Samoa. Unfortunately, the small type identifying each location is frequently difficult to make out, and the short paragraph paired with each drawing offers very little factual information. Bolivia, for example, merits only two brief sentences: ``I live in the high mountains, where there are few trees. We built our house out of stone.'' On each page the phrase ``This is my house'' appears in that region's language (though it is never identified) and is both translated and transliterated into English. Teachers embracing whole language may find this an effective trade surrogate for traditional sources on shelter, or a useful starting point for children's own explorations of their communities. However, it's hard to predict much recreational use for this essentially curriculum-driven survey. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)