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Saturday, December 16, 2017

How Does My Home Work? Written by Chris Butterworth and illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti. Candlewick Press, 2017. $16.99 ages 5 and up

"Under the floors and behind
the walls of your home are
pipes that bring in water and
natural gas and wires that bring
in electricity, day and night.

This means you can turn on
the lights and the faucets,
watch TV, and keep your
food cool in the refrigerator."

I am ever fascinated by the subjects that intrigue authors and illustrators. They certainly know how to capture attention and provide learning for their young fans. In two previous books, Chris Butterworth has asked clarifying questions about food and clothing. Those two books were also illustrated by Lucia Gaggiotti. To the first two in this series, How Did That Get in My Lunchbox?: The Story of  Food. (2011, Candlewick) and Where Did My Clothes Come From? (Candlewick, 2015), we can now add this book about the workings of a home.

We can see the family home from basement to attic as they spend their days working, playing, enjoying each other's company. A look at the pipes and wires that bring water, natural gas and electricity in, then take dirty water out is displayed in a cross-section of the entire house top to bottom. It provides plenty of relevant information concerning the engineering complexities for this house. A full color spread of those machines using electricity is followed by informative spreads explaining where electricity comes from and how it affects the family using it, where water comes from and how it is made safe for family consumption and use, and finally, where natural gas is found and how it gets into a home.

The text is simple, while also explanatory. Finally, readers are encouraged to think clearly and carefully about consumption. Conservation is an important and ongoing topic, and should be considered by all who depend on electricity, water and natural gas to make their lives comfortable. It is a book that will be appreciated by those who have an abiding interest in such things and appreciated by those who didn't know much about the way a house works.

The information provided is accurate and accessible, the art enhances the text with clear, colorful images that connect text to learning. It is a great introduction to a subject many children may not have yet considered.

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