by Jennifer Thermes
Henry Holt and Company
ISBN 0-8050-6532-6

Ages 4-8

“Who’s been eating my porridge?” Just about everyone recognizes those words from GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS. But, really, have you ever wondered who has taken a bath in your bathtub, or sprawled in front of your fireplace, cooked dinner on your stove or climbed the stairs to your bedroom . . . before you moved into your house?

This review can also be seen on: SmartWriters
WHEN I WAS BUILT gives young children a glimpse into the past. It compares life today with life some 200 years ago. And what better character to document these changes, than the house itself, as it remembers life from the time it was built?

Author/illustrator Jennifer Thermes makes her picture book debut with WHEN I WAS BUILT. This gentle story, combined with Ms. Thermes’ soft palette, makes this book one children will ask for again and again as they sit on granny’s knee and ask, “But what do you mean . . . they had no television?”

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“A house can’t talk!” said Lucy. “Parrots can. But a house can’t.”

“I know that,” said Zach. “But, I think the author used the house to teach about what happened before we were born.”

Annie nodded. “Yeah! It was a teaching book. The story shows how it used to be in the olden days. They did the same things -- only in different ways.”

“Well, actually, the house compared living in the past with living right now,” said Pritka, “and I’m glad I’m living now.”

“Me too!” said Keisha, “It would be horrible if we had to go outside to go to the bathroom.”

“And they only took a bath once a month,” said Lucy.

Keisha rolled her eyes. “Ewww! I’d smell like a pig, just rolled in the mud,” she said.

“You would reek,” said Miguel.

Zach interrupted. “I wouldn’t want to take a bath in a barrel. It’s wood and I might get a splinter. Ouch!”

KIDDLE CRITers vote:

Six children voted to live in the past, while sixteen thought life is just grand in 2003.

If you like WHEN I WAS BUILT, you may also like the following books:


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