If I Built a School
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that If I Built a School, by Chris Van Dusen, is the third If I Built book featuring inventive young Jack, who previously described his ideal car and house. Thinking bigger than ever in If I Built a School, Jack offers readers the school design of his dreams. Kids will find a kindred spirit in Jack's capacity to imagine a lively school with amusement park vibes, and his idea that it's fun to learn in a school that's fun will surely resonate with them. The bright, vintage-style art packs a lot of detail into each page, and the illustrations are likely to spark young readers' own design ideas. This colorful book is a great choice for kids getting ready to go back to school, or for kids who need reminding that imagination can make school, and life, more enjoyable.
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What's the Story?
In IF I BUILT A SCHOOL, Jack takes his teacher on an imaginary tour of his dream school. At the entrance, Miss Jane looks shocked as they are greeted by puppies and zoo animals. Jack then whisks his teacher to "her" classroom via a glass tube transport system. The classrooms open up to the sun like flowers, and Jack reveals that Miss Jane will have holograms to help her teach and a stylus that writes in the air. Next, it's to the library, where books pop open and spring to life (including the author's previous book, If I Built a Car). Whether it's the gym that has skydiving wind tunnels or the grand, three-stories-high slide in the recess yard, Miss Jane looks amazed at the grandeur of her student's fantasy school.
Is It Any Good?
This imaginative book is a joy to read aloud, and kids will love examining the detailed two-page spreads that picture a young boy's dream school. Between the color-saturated illustrations that feel both retro and futuristic, the teacher who stares at Jack in impressed wonder, and the delightfully rhyming text, it's hard to decide what's most wonderful about If I Built a School.
Jack's whimsical ideas and confusion about the finer points of executing such an elaborate plan make him an easy character for kids to relate to, and parents might find themselves contemplating school buildings like Miss Jane does at the end of the story, wondering if school could indeed be more fun than it already is. It's a good thing this book is entertaining for kids and adults alike, as it will be requested over and over again.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about building or designing places, like Jack does in If I Built a School. What would you build if you could? What kinds of elements would you add to make it fun for everyone? For example, in the boy's imagined school, kids in wheelchairs can use the wind tunnel for skydiving and can go on the zip line.
How do you have fun at school? How do you cope when you have to do something you don't think is very fun?
How do the illustrations show Miss Jane's feelings? How does she feel about Jack's imaginary school?
- Author: Chris Van Dusen
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
- Publication date: August 13, 2019
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 5 - 8
- Number of pages: 32
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: August 26, 2019
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