Homebuilders (illustrated by Simona Mulazzani) my second picture book with Nancy Paulsen books comes out in days. I’m typically both excited and nervous before a book is born and this time is no different.
I’ve structured Homebuilders with questions which invite the child and the adult reader to search, find and interact with the words and pictures.
I imagine that they will look, and find the homebuilders as they turn the pages. “Deep on the trail, Beneath the mound, Down by the water, Safe of the ground.”
The parents and teachers reading to the children may find the “hidden” pattern. The first line of the verses/answers refers to the turtles. Then comes the fox, the beaver, the owl, the mole, the bees, the deer and the eagle.
I hope kids will be delighted when they turn the page to find the new babies named. “Hatchlings go forth, Fox cubs nuzzle, Beaver kits swim, Owlets huddle.”
The story ends with a collective desire to see all the families safe together and evoke a sense of security for the child reader. Some kids and adults might wonder if those babies will be homebuilders one day carrying on the cycle of life.
In 2005, my first picture book, “How Many Kisses Do You Want Tonight?” (illustrated by Ivan Bates, Little Brown, 2004) landed on the Texas 2×2 list and gave me the opportunity to read aloud to groups big and small.
Each time I read the book’s last line, “How many kisses do you want tonight?” hands shot up in excitement. Children yelled out answers. “Hundred, thirty-three, eleventeen.”
By answering that question they became part of the story.
The questions in Homebuilders invites kids to be active seekers in this story.