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

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  278 Ratings  ·  53 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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Romarie VIllanueva yes it did, because after the eruption when the lahar flow down from the volcano then dried up it gives fertile soil which the people of the village…moreyes it did, because after the eruption when the lahar flow down from the volcano then dried up it gives fertile soil which the people of the village was thankful of because their crops and yams are very bountiful due to the eruption(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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sarafem
Mar 04, 2008 sarafem rated it did not like it
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
Paul
Sep 23, 2012 Paul rated it it was ok
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
Jenny
May 03, 2016 Jenny rated it really liked it
I thought this was fascinating. In this remote village in Cameroon called Tos, the women live in round houses and the men live in square houses. A young girl explains that this came about when a nearby volcano erupted. Most of the village was destroyed...only two houses were left standing. One was round and one was square. The village chief ordered the tall gray things (the men covered in ash) to go live in the square house and the round gray things (the women) to live in the round houses. And s ...more
Beverly
Mar 07, 2012 Beverly rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
A very interesting story and I have no reason to believe that Ms Grifalconi made it up. On the back inside flap of the jacket in the edition I read, there is a photo of Ms Grifalconi in front of a square house and a round house, and she is surrounded by the village children. There is also an adult standing next to her, who might be the person who told her the story. The story is interesting, although the reader is not told why the chief wanted to separate the men and women. I really liked the co ...more
Mckinley
Why do women and men live in different houses?
Caldecott honor
Kapra McMichael
Apr 11, 2011 Kapra McMichael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: folk-tales
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.
Nicole
Jun 11, 2017 Nicole rated it it was ok
HISTORICAL FICTION- Ed 230

This story is about an isolated Cameroonian village where men live in square houses and women live in circle ones. A young village girl asks her grandma why men and women live in different houses, and her grandmother then explains that this living situation began when a nearby volcano erupted. Only two houses were left standing in the village, one was round and one was square. The village chief then ordered the tall gray things, which were the men covered in ash, to go
...more
Queenmismis
Jun 17, 2017 Queenmismis rated it it was ok
Guysss how to read this? I need to read this story for my English subject. We were prepare to advance study this story but I don't know how to open it or read it
Luke
Jun 30, 2016 Luke added it
Title: The Village of Round and Square Houses
Author: Ann Grifalconi
Illustrator: Ann Grifalconi
Genre: Non – European Folklore
Theme(s): Folklore, gender, villages
Opening line/sentence:
“It was not until Iwas almost full – grown and left my village
That I found our village was like no other.”

Brief Book Summary:
A young girl wonders why it is that her town is divided into two types of houses – round and square. She goes about her daily routine at first, but then her grandmother tells her the story.
...more
Stefanie Burns
Mar 11, 2017 Stefanie Burns rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott-honor
The illustrations capture the culture and history in this story perfectly. The faces are inviting and the story has a cheerful feel to it. The story is based on a real village in Africa. The story was told by a young girl who lived there to author of this book. In Tos, the village, even today, men live in square houses and the women and children live in round ones. This book tells the story of how this came to be. Well done picture book.
Mitchell
A Caldecott Honor story book. This one is quite a bit longer than a typical Caldecott, but still a quick read. Basically the retelling of a village folktale. But with pretty good art and well written text. And it captures a time and a place and a different way of living, all of which I particularly like to see.
Lulu Hawkes
Ann Grifalconi has made profoundly important contributions to American children's literature as she has realized the importance of including the voices and stories of racially/ethnically marginalized communities.Her impressive repertoire of children's picture books includes stories with African and African American characters and themes. Village of Round and Square Houses is a story about a rural village in Cameroon. Grifalconi adapted the story of how the people in this particular village devel ...more
Micheál Hanratty
Mar 24, 2013 Micheál Hanratty rated it it was amazing
'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
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
David
Mar 04, 2012 David rated it really liked it
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
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
SamZ
Apr 26, 2016 SamZ rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1987 Caldecott Honor: Favorite Illustration: The grandmother and little girl sitting together outside the hut before Gran'ma begins her story.
I really liked this tale of how the village people came to live in round and square houses. I loved the beautiful colored pencil drawings that enhance the tale of the volcanic eruption while still keeping with the peaceful, family feel of the book. I love books like these that tell of different cultures and ways of living. I do wish, though, that there had
...more
Lubomba Muchimba
Mar 07, 2014 Lubomba Muchimba rated it really liked it
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
Apr 18, 2014 Cory Schulz rated it liked it
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
Samantha
May 13, 2012 Samantha rated it really liked it
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
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
Linda Lipko
Based on the historical event of a volcanic eruption in the African rural Cameroon village of Tos, a young girl seeks to understand why the men live in round houses and the women of the village reside in square abodes.

The African folktale noted that after the volcano quieted, only one squae and one round house was left standing. This is a wonderful, engaging book covering traditions and remain generation after generation.

The book received a well-deserved Caldecott honor in 1987. The illustration
...more
Mathew
I thought this a lovely book about the life of a young girl from the village of Tos which resides within the remote hills of the Cameroons in Central Africa. It tells the tale of how the tribe ended up having men and women living in different houses. With the looming presence of a resting volcano, the young girl speaks of her family life in the village which I thought was beautifully illustrated AND written by Grifalconi. Books that capture the life of a different culture (especially in Africa) ...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
Nancy Ely
Dec 02, 2015 Nancy Ely rated it it was amazing
A beautiful story based on a real village in Africa where women live in round houses, and men in square houses. A young girl is told the story of how the housing order came to be for them. Throughout the story, we understand how the people of this village lived, and why they do the things they do.

I would recommend this book when teaching about different cultures to younger students. It is good for students to learn about different lifestyles around the world.
Laura
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...
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.
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.
Alice
Mar 30, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 STARS To think that a village still exists in a primitive state is so foreign to most of us. The nearest paved road is an 8 hour drive. This was an interesting book with nice picture. I can see why it got a Caldecott Honor!
Shelli
Aug 10, 2016 Shelli rated it it was amazing
This is an intriguing read of life in a remote village in Cameroon where the sexes are divided into round or square houses due a traditions that began after a volcanic eruption. I'm contemplating setting up a square settlement in the back yard for my husband now :)
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