nonfiction nuggets…hammers and nails and drills, oh my!

Building, written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

I come from a long line of skilled, Swedish carpenters, and am married to one of the best as well.  So, perhaps my fascination with buildings is genetic.

But I doubt it.

The littlest squirt of a boy loves to watch carpenters raise a wall.  The twirliest, girliest girl will gape at a crane hoisting unwieldy beams several stories high.  Cement trucks pouring gloop down their chutes.  Back hoes pushing piles of earth around.  This stuff piques our interest!

Reading Elisha Cooper’s book is like sitting across the street from a building site, sipping a cool lemonade and watching, day after day, the process of a beautiful structure rising up.  For those of us who have stood, holding the small, sweaty hand of an eager pre-schooler watching the road construction guys, or the wrecking ball guys, or the builders and roofers hard at work…it’s like vicariously living that all over again.

In vivid, precise language, Cooper simply describes what he sees, from the first glimpse of a barren, vacant lot, through the whole digging, delivering, pouring, framing, lunch-breaking, window-installing, siding, painting process.  Accompanying the brief text are Cooper’s handsome, quiet watercolors.  Pages sprinkled with gesture-drawing-style glimpses of workers about their jobs, and pages showing us the progress of the structure growing up out of the ground.  At times, the text follows the very direction of the scaffolds or rooflines or sheets of plywood; a nice touch.

A small book, perfect for kindergarteners and up, that packs a lot in, and does it with artistic elegance.   I am a big fan of Cooper’s work.  See if you don’t agree.

Here’s the Amazon link: Building