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Raise the Roof Hardcover – February 24, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K-Suen and Smith combine a brisk, rhyming text with cartoon illustrations to create a start-to-finish look at how a house is built. The job is done mainly by a smiling couple clad in blue jeans, red shirts, and matching red caps. Starting with "Make a plan," the work progresses at a fast clip through measuring, excavating, pouring concrete, sawing, hammering, painting, plumbing, and even landscaping, ending with a well-earned rest when all is "done at last!" Smith's art has a decidedly retro feel; bright, flat colors; black outlines; and clean, angular shapes give the pictures a crisp look. The mostly double-page spreads feature lots of amusing complications, many caused by the pair's dog; he's shown "helping" in a decidedly human and humorous fashion. From his blissfully unaware application of the wrong color paint on a wide expanse of wall to his obvious dismay over the tile stuck to his foot, this pooch has plenty of personality and practically steals the show. And he manages to do so despite the fact that the brief text never mentions him at all. There are only one or two short declarative sentences per spread. This brevity and the fact that the words are well matched to the pictures suggest that the book may work as well for beginning readers as it does as a read-aloud for younger listeners.
Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 1. Colorful illustrations reminiscent of a 1940s comic strip combine with a simple, rhyming text to tell the story of a house's construction. With one short sentence per page, there isn't much information conveyed, and some pictures, such as an image of surveyors at work, will need to be explained to young audiences. But the retro illustrations carry the day, with most of the humor coming from the dog, who seems to get all the heavy-lifting jobs as he helps the man and woman build a house and doghouse. Combined with a more detailed book, such as Gail Gibbons' How a House Is Built (1990), this will be a good introduction for children curious about the subject. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 6 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile (February 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670892823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670892822
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 20 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,878,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Who is Anastasia Suen?

a) Author of 215 books for children and adults.

b) Booklist columnist and literacy blogger.

c) Children's literature consultant.

d) A former K, 1, 5, & 6 teacher who visits schools to teach the six traits of writing.

e) A former SDE, UNT, & SMU instructor who works as a freelance editor critiquing manuscripts.

f) All of the above.

The answer is: (f) All of the above.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on June 19, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Make a plan. Count the feet. Clear the land on this street..." It's time to raise the roof and build that dream house. From the planning, pouring concrete, sawing and hammering wood, laying pipes and wiring, to drywalling, hanging windows and doors, painting, carpeting and tiling, Anastasia Suen details all the things that need to be done before a house is ready to be lived in. Her rhyming text, written in short, simple sentences is perfect for the youngest "construction workers" always ready to build with pretend tools and hard hats. But it's Elwood Smith's bold, bright, and clever cartoon-like illustrations that really make this picture book a stand out. Each two page spread is rich in vivid color, engaging humor, and wonderful eye-catching details. "Plant the garden. Water the grass. The house is ready. We're done at last!" Raise The Roof is definitely a preschool crowd pleaser.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I loved the look of "Raise the Roof!": It has the energy of 1930's Disney animation, and a scruffy energy that made me think of a very sanitized R. Crumb. The pictures and the "cast" have an original, rhythmic feel to them, it's as if the pictures rhyme as well as the words!

We start with eventually turns out as a trick. A couple very busily draw blueprints, while their dog holds a portfolio titled "doghouse plans," and a book, "How to Build a Doghouse" lies on the floor next to his food bowl. Wacky geometrically-shaped details decorate each picture: Sharp-edged bushes, circular flowers that look like wood, and every where dots andtiny circles that add texture and the aforementioned scruffy dynamism to the backgrounds. The people and their dog have that rounded, puffy look that makes them look energetic and slightly unpredictable, as if they're going to burst out in song at any minute. Illustrator Elwood H. Smith varies the perspective, from scene-setting longshots to close-ups (likea series of pipes) that are almost abstract.

Anastasia Suen's verse is tightly constructed and similarly energetic. She describes the house-building with enough detail to make it realistic, but leaves out unessential descriptions that would dilute her focused story-telling. She introduces various subcontractors (e.g., an electrician, the cement guy) to increase interest, and, most importantly, makes the dog a co-equal in the house building. (even though, he's sometimes a little mixed-up!) Still, there's an interesting incongruity that young audiences might begin to detect: We saw that this was planned as a doghouse, and the pooch even dreams of one, but the interior and exterior dimenstions look awfully dog-gone big!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this thinking it would be like Suen's "Wired," which my 3-yo son loves. This is far less detailed and is more of a fun rhyme of a family building a house. My son does like it, particularly because the dog helps out and he finds this really funny. It does give some insight into how homes are built, but I was hoping for more detail (because that's what my son keeps asking).
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