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If I Built a House
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If I Built a House

(If I Built ...)

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  1,071 ratings  ·  167 reviews
The much-anticipated follow-up to the E. B. White Award-winning picture book If I Built a Car

In If I Built a Car, imaginative Jack dreamed up a whimsical fantasy ride that could do just about anything. Now he's back and ready to build the house of his dreams, complete with a racetrack, flying room, and gigantic slide. Jack's limitless creativity and infectious enthusiasm
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 25th 2012 by Dial Books
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Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,071 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Though published in 2005, this book should be called "If I Built a House ... In the 1970's."

But seriously it's a great concept and my kids love the book. My son's dying for a racing room and an aquarium room.
The perfect childhood dream home.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Such a fun, imaginative story with awesome illustrations. This could make a fun writing project for descriptive writing... Describe one or more rooms you would design if you built a house. They can be imaginative like his (race car room, underwater room, flying room) or normal rooms with just some interesting features. My 5 yo loved this. It is definitely reminiscent of Audrey Wood's The Flying Dragon Room. Different rooms, but similar concepts. Either or both could lead to great writing ...more
Ben Truong
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If I Built a House is the second book in the children's picture book series If I Built..., written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, which follows an imaginative boy named Jack who wants to design his perfect house.

The text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and lyrical. Written in rhyming couplets, the narrative tells the house that a little would like to create. The illustrations are colorful, sleek, and shiny, reinforcing the 1950s suburbia ambiance and the narrative.

The premise of the
Niki (nikilovestoread)
My kids and I love the If I Built series of pictures books by Chris Van Dusen. The stories are great for sparking imagination and the illustrations are so cute. Would it be fun to let your imagination run free and built a house with every fun thing you can imagine?! If I Built a House is definitely a family favorite.
Erin H
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
They kids love this book and their imagination during and after reading it is so fun to listen to!
Carmen Pagan
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen is about young boy name Jack who dreams of a dream house that if far from the norm. His dream house explores the imagination of child and gives us a glimpse of what future house could be. Jack takes him mom and his dog on a tour of each room he has dreamt up, including all glass room, robotic rooms, flying room, and so on. Jack is seen through out the book as being the leader and always smiling with enthusiasm about his dream. His mother on the other had ...more
Luisa Knight
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh. my. dear! Where was this book when I was a kid? My sister and I spent countless hours designing homes out of Legos and building forts out of blankets; but never with this much imagination! This book is fantastic! The illustrations will spark creativity and invention in your kids. Say adios to the TV for a while as they'll want to draw, build and enjoy their innovative side!

Ages 3+

Cleanliness: there's a boy in a shower - you can only make out his outline through the shower screen.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've never reviewed children's books, but this one is so good that I just had to. Perfect for my almost 3 year old son's wild imagination. He loves looking through all of the rooms and imagining building his own "magical" house. Great gift idea for 3 year olds!
Lauren Boyle
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Jack is a very imaginative kid. He has a very active imagination. In this book, Jack imagines his dream house, what it would look like, and how he would build it. It would be nothing less than extraordinary with a racetrack room, flying room, and massive slide. He would have a kitchen that cooks for him, a shower that does all the work, and a bedroom in a tower in the clouds. What would your dream house look like?

Theme: Children should work towards their dreams and visions of their
Book Title: If I Built A House
Author: Chris Van Dusen
Reading Level: L
Book Level: 2.7

Book Summary: Young Jack dreams up the best house ever and creates rooms with the ability fly, race tracks and gigantic slides.

Writing Traits:
Sentence Fluency-This book has a very rhythmic tone to it. Each page flows in a sing song pattern. I would use this text to show students how to move the reader through an idea by creating short rhythmic patterns.
Ideas- This text uses the idea of engineering and imagination
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Much of what I wrote for holds true for this book as well. Same great rhyming text with vocabulary that stretches kids' minds, same fabulous mid-century modern illustrations, same imagination-building premise, only this time as it relates to what a child's dream house would be instead of car. Again, one that my kids read over and over and over again. The only cameo appearance from another book we've noticed so far in this one is Jack's dream car in the ...more
Rachel Solomin
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My three-year-old loved this birthday present! (Quoting my review of "If I Built a Car"...) Duane pairs beautiful 1950's-retro-style illustrations with a delightful rhyming text. The book captures the delight of reimagining ordinary objects and could easily inspire art, writing, and STEM activities.
The conversations I had with both my toddler and third-grader around the book were great: Why are there discarded ideas among the brainstorming items? Could you have a room without gravity? Which
Becky B
A little boy imagines his dream house and explains it to his mother in rhyme.

This kid is smart to start off explaining his dream house to his mother with a fully automated kitchen. Smooth kid. Real smooth. Also quite imaginative. I like his trampoline-embedded living room and art room. This and If I Built a Car both feel like something Dr. Seuss accidentally forgot to do so Van Dusen did it for him with just as much zany imagination and catchy rhyming text. Keep your eyes open for Mr. Magee and
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children 3 - 6 years
Beautiful, detailed retro illustrations that depict the workings of a young boy's imagination. Inviting the reader on a journey through the boy's dream house, we discover incredible ideas such as racing car and aquarium rooms...melding architecture, fantasy, environment and art. I've now used this quite a few times as an extension text in children's construction inquiries and play to generate enthusiasm and to embolden the possibilities of design. The text is also a treat - with well-written, ...more
Gabrielle Stoller
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, picture-book
Chris Van Dusen is absolutely my favorite illustrator. I think. I don't know. I just know that I find his books super engaging, colorful, and humorous. in "If I Built A House," our imaginations soar with what someone's dream house would be.

There is a water room. A Race track room. A kitchen that does all of the dishes via a robot. You name it. This house has it. I loved asking my storytime kids what they would put in their houses!
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Chris Van Dusen is one of my favorite illustrators (paired up with Kate DiCamillo for Mercy Watson and other books). He's writing and illustrating some of his own books and this picture book is delightful! A great book with bright, back-to-the-past illustrations about an imaginative boy. What kind of house would you build if the sky was the limit? Great book for engineering minds and creativity.
Boy describes and imagines his dream home design to his mother. The house has all kinds of amazing features: a retro-futuristic house that rivals the Swiss family Robinson dream tree house!

Guest appearance by Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee
Vanessa Whalen
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a cute book!!! It had nice rhyming to tell the story of what a little boy would like in his house. Good imagination, I got this from the library and most books we read once, twice maybe. This one has been read 3 times already! Looked up the author and Going to look into his other books. Thinking about purchasing this one!!!
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
The imagination of the main character in this book is wonderful. I would love to visit his idea of a home. And he shares the ideas with his mother. The illustrations are big and colorful and make the idea so workable. I love the story and the boy's imagination. A great read aloud that the listeners want to have to look through the illustrations after the reading.
Nadia L. Hohn
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another rhyming picture book that seems to “challenge” the not-do of #kidlit writing. I love most that the child dreams and is extremely creative and innovative. He tells his mother the type of home he would design if it were ever up to him. The rhymes are clever. The design is out of this world and futuristic.
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: I love Chris Van D.
Shelves: library-lessons
I am an elementary school librarian. For my lessons, I like to do author studies. We did Chris Van Dusen as a featured author in first and second grade. The students always love Chris' over the top situations, excellent illustrations, and funny rhymes. Oh, this one is great for igniting kids' imaginations. One of the follow-up activities we did was to design our own houses and cars. Super fun!
Braley Hale
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because its a great tool for teachers to use in their classrooms. It can be very interactive because it encourages creativity and imagination. You could even use this book for a writing assignment and ask the students what they would put in their house if they were able to build their own.
Stacy K B
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Son (almost 7) loved reading this book. He flipped through the pages forever after finishing describing each detail of the room. He added a train room, a spy room with floating/moving walls. “The possibilities are endless, Mom”. ...more
Kristi Davis
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is really cute and easy to read. My two year old loves this book and pays good attention to it as well, which is a win for me. I love books that teach creativity and are a bit silly and this is a good mix of those two things.
Rose Blamires
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: el-ed-340
Picture Book. This book is AMAZING! The creativity is some of the highest I've ever seen in a children's book and I love how the illustrations show what the author thought about. This book makes me want to draw out the blueprints for my own awesome house!
So glad to have stumbled across Chris Van Dusen's children's books. They have skyrocketed to the top of our list of favorites. Everything works: the rhymes, the illustrations, the nostalgia, the view to the future. We read this one a LOT.
A young boy imagines a house with all kinds of interesting and fun rooms.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
Jack imagines the house of his dreams, and all the rooms it would contain: an art room, a racetrack room, a fish tank room. This book invites kids to imagine their ideal houses.
Krizia Anna
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My son and I love this book. It was fun and the illustrations were wonderful.
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Chris Van Dusen writes: “I was born in Portland, Maine, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1960. As a child, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing pictures. We didn’t have video games or computers to entertain us, so we drew instead. One of my brothers would sketch intricate war scenes. Another would draw animals so realistic you’d swear they were breathing. My specialty was aliens, robots, and monsters. ...more

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If I Built ... (3 books)
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