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This Is Our House


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George guards his cardboard box house against all his friends; he won't let them in no matter how cleverly they try to invite themselvesÄuntil he has to go to the bathroom. "Every word of the trenchant text rings true," said PW. Ages 3-6. (May)

"Playground dynamics become testy as a willful child attempts to exclude everyone else in this simple, humorous lesson in human relations...Deft and funny."

PreS-Gr 2‘A cardboard box on an urban playground is the setting for this exploration of discrimination. George is in a cardboard "house" and declares that "This house is all for me!" As the other kids try to join him, he gives them his reasons why they cannot enter: no girls, no small people, etc. Race is not mentioned. The children try different approaches to soften George, but nothing works. Finally he has to use the bathroom, and when he returns the house is full. Charlene tells him, "This house isn't for people with red hair," and he shouts, cries, stamps, and punches. Then he realizes what the others have known all along: "This house is for everyone!" The playground setting helps keep the book from being weighed down by the important, but obvious, message. Graham uses watercolors and crayons to highlight the main action on each page, while gray-shaded drawings fill out the backgrounds. There are no lectures in the text; the kids work out the problem on their own using actions rather than speeches. The solution is not completely satisfying, as George learns his lesson only when he is given the same treatment he gave others. More important, though, is the children's unerring confidence that they do belong in the house, and their willing inclusion of George in the end. There are obvious opportunities for discussion and sharing here, but the book speaks for itself in a clear and engaging manner.‘Steven Engelfried, West Linn Public Library, OR

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