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Village of Round and Square Houses
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Village of Round and Square Houses

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  148 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A story of life in an isolated Cameroonian village.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published November 1st 2005 by MacMillan Children's Books (first published May 30th 1986)
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List for #nerdcott
299th out of 327 books — 33 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 291)
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sarafem
If anyone had ever actually read this book, it would have set us all back about 500 years. Luckily no one but me has, so we're safe. This children's book is about an African village in which the women live on one side in round houses and the men live on the other side in square houses. They've been living like that for generations since the gods destroyed the village and ordered men to one side and women to the other, and they've been living happily ever after since then. It's a Caldecott Honor ...more
Lubomba Muchimba
I loved the colours and the softness of these illustrations. This made me consider how our society might be different if men lived in square houses and women in round ones. I like knowing that this is about a real place and real people. Is great for literacy as children could relate to how the characters could be feeling and differences in life in the village to city life. It has very interesting social studies connections, multicultural connections, examination of a culture's mythology and how ...more
Cory Schulz
This book is about a village where males live in the square houses and females live in the round houses. A girl is curious about why this is so and asks her grandmother, who describes the legend of how this occurred. The illustrations for this book are colorful and full as in every picture there is a lot to look at. The text is easy to read, but I believe the story’s content is a little too mature for a younger reader. But this is a interesting concept for a older audience. This also can be used ...more
Miss Balzaretti
In, the Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi, tells the culture of a small West African village in the Cameroons. This folk story explains the reasons why the women and children live in round houses while the men live in square houses. I really enjoy this book because it teaches the reader about a different culture and how they live. I feel like I could use this book in my classroom to teach my students about cultures outside of the United States and use it to probe questions abo ...more
Rachel
I will say that though it is taking me forever to read all of the Caldecott Winners and Honors, I am discovering a lot of hidden gems, like this book. I probably would have never picked up this one on my own, but it had won a 1987 Caldecott Honor. The author/illustrator went to the village of Tos in Cameroon, and met with the African people on which the book is based. My favorite part of the story was when the grandmother started telling her story about the mountain.

We see the village in West A
...more
David
The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi is a folktale set in the village of Tos - where the women live in round houses and the men live in square ones. After a traditional day and meal in a remote village, Gram'ma Tika tells the story of when old Naka errupted, and how the village was rebuilt, with separate places for men and women to relax by themselves, and why that happened.

Grifalconi's illustrations match this story of a remote village following the tradional ways. My favor
...more
Micheál Hanratty
'The Village of Round and Square Houses' by Ann Grifalconi is a traditional tale exploring how the women live in round houses and the men in square house in a peripheral village in Cameroon. The story is told through the eyes of Osa a young girl who works to feed her community on the land surrounding the dormant volcanic mountain of Naka.

Essentially, Osa is on a quest to uncover how it came to pass that women and men live in seperate houses.Upon, hearing a story from her Gran'ma she comes to a c
...more
Janet
A beautifully illustrated folktale from Africa explaining how the men of the village came to live in square houses and the women in round ones. The tale shows a respect for the elders of the community as well as illustrating that each has a place to be apart and a time to come together. Satisfying story.
Paul
I didn't feel drawn into the story or captivated by Grifalconi's drawings, although they are capable. The story comes from what Grifalconi heard during a visit in Cameroon, but I'm not sure what a child will take away from the story or what idea a teacher or older reader would want them to take away from it: Appreciating another culture? Honoring African tribal life and culture? Understanding the place of mythology in culture? The world works better if men and women have their space from one ano ...more
Samantha
A young girl tells the reader about her village and the tale her Gran'Ma Tiki shared with her about why the women live in round houses and the men live in square houses. The people of Tos believe when the volcano last erupted aand spared them and 2 houses 1 square and 1 round that the volcano was speaking to them. They continue on with their way of life until the volcano speaks to them again. This village really exists and the author begins the story with a note to the reader saying as much. Art ...more
Jacque Williamson
This story had great depth and represented the African culture very well, not only in the illustrations but also in the text. The pictures were alluringly drawn out and had a chalk-like texture. I thought it was interesting on how they referred to the Volcano as “Naka” that separated where the Men and Women lived. The story portrayed a little girl named Osa who wanted to know why the Men live in separate houses than the women. The author has the Gran’ma narrate on how the Volcano destroyed their ...more
Betsy
This is one of those books where the teacher in me wants to rate it one way and the casual reader another. My casual side would give this a 3* rating--good, but not one I might pick up again.

My teacher side, though, would bump this to at least a 4* rating: very interesting social studies connections, multicultural connections, examination of a culture's mythology and how societies explain the natural world phenomena. Definitely a book to discuss. The village really exists, and it would be intere
...more
Luann
I loved the colors and the softness of these illustrations. This made me consider how our society might be different if men lived in square houses and women in round ones. :) I like knowing that this is about a real place, but now I want to do some research and see if the village of Tos in the remote hills of the Cameroons in Central Africa is still as it is described in the book. It's been over 20 years since this was published, so I just wonder if this village has changed at all in that time.
Audrey
This is a nice book to explore folktales and other cultures.
Snorkle
This was an interesting book, I thought it was cool how this story was actually about a real place and that the author had visited it and learned its story from a girl who used to live there. I liked the illustrations, they were often colorful and soft, but not beautiful enough to garner this book a higher rating. A nice book, but not worth spending money on.

*Taken from my book reviews blog: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...
Beth
Gran'ma Tika shares with her in grand story telling fashion how it came about that men live in square houses and women lived in round houses. This happened after the volcano erupted by Naka. All have learned to live together and find their own place to be alone.
Kapra McMichael
This a book that talks about my men live in square houses and women live in round ones. Kids at a young age often separate themselves based on gender. So, I feel this is a book kids can relate to.
Mrs. Downs
GR Level: M

NOT AVAILABLE


This is an interesting folk tale from Africa. Men live in square houses and women and children live in round houses. Why, you may ask- read it and find out.
Rachel
In the village of Tos, the women live in round houses and the men live in square houses. Gran’ma Tika tells the story of Naka Mountain and how the people of the village came to live this way.
Cheryl
Pretty pictures, graceful language. If this is in fact an authentic traditional tale, as is claimed, it's illuminating. If it's inaccurate, at least it gives us something to think about.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Caldecott Honor 1987 - I am feeling nostalgic as I go through some of these books that I remember using in my classroom and haven't read in a long time.
Erica
This is an interesting folk tale from Africa. Men live in square houses and women and children live in round houses. Why, you may ask- read it and find out.
Paula

A grandmother explains to her listeners why in their village on the side of a volcano the men live in square houses and the women in round ones.
Jennifer
We read this as part of the Living Math curriculum. We all enjoyed the story very much, and the illustrations are beautiful.
Amanda
beautiful illustrations. explains why women live in round houses and men live in square houses in this village
Amy
Well done & interesting.

Needs a sequel more about life in the village now if it indeed does still exist.
Mckinley
Why do women and men live in different houses?
Caldecott honor
Kari
Probably a little long for a young group read aloud.
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