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Too Tall Houses
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Too Tall Houses

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  913 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Good friends learn a small but important lesson

Owl and Rabbit are good friends and live in two small houses next to each other. They are perfectly happy . . . until Rabbit's garden gets in the way of Owl's view. So Owl builds his house a little taller. Only that blocks the sun from Rabbit's vegetables. So Rabbit builds his house taller. And soon it's a house-building frenz
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  913 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Lisa Vegan
I loved this book. Thank you to Goodreads friend Terri Lynn for alerting me to it. I’m not sure I’d have found it otherwise, at least not in the near future.

The illustrations are special. They’re beautiful and interesting, and some are very amusing. I love how they take up entire pages, and how the text/story is placed over the pictures. The expressiveness of Rabbit and Owl are priceless.

The story is wonderful too, and has a moral about getting along with one another and being considerate of one
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Rabbit and Owl are friends living in two houses on top of a hill. Rabbit likes to grow vegetables while Owl likes to gaze at the forest. As Rabbit's vegetables grow, they block Owl's view of the forest. Owl decides to build his house taller, which blocks the sun from reaching the vegetables. Rabbit decides to build his house taller and plant vegetables on the roof. Both Owl and Rabbit keep constructing taller houses until they have the tallest houses in the world. A great wind blows both houses ...more
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Lisa Vegan

A delightful and touching story about the pitfalls of one-upmanship and the beauty of true friendship. I love the illustrations and thought the conclusion was sweet and holds a great message without being annoyingly didactic. Thanks to my friend, Lisa, for bringing this to my attention.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: randomly-reading
Too Tall Houses is the story of how the good friendship between Rabbit and Owl is almost completely ruined when it turns into a ridiculous competition. Rabbit and Owl have always lived in harmony: Rabbit liked to garden, Owl liked to look at his lovely view. But when Rabbit's garden grows and grows so that it blocks Owl's view of the forest, instead of talking to Rabbit about it, Owl simply builds a higher house.

And when Owl's new higher house blocks the sun that Rabbit's garden needs to grow,
Josie B.
Children identify with this tale of how a competition for the tallest house threatens Owl and rabbit's friendship. The conflict escalates until they have the two tallest houses in the world, too tall for either to enjoy. The winds high above the earth destroy both houses leaving just enough supplies for them to build one house that they can share. When I first read this book about a year ago, I gave it four stars, but today in my 4 & 5 year old storytime I discovered we could retell the stor ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Terri Lynn
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fiction
This book is so charming. Rabbit and Owl are neighbors. When Rabbit's veggie garden starts blocking Owl's view of the forest, Owl builds a taller house but that blocks the sun on Rabbit's veggie garden so Rabbit builds a taller house and grows veggies on top of it which blocks Owl's view of the sun and , well, you get the idea. The artwork is warm, friendly, and charming. I loved the pictures a lot. Things start to get silly as the two keep building their houses so tall the winds blow them down. ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Owl and Rabbit are good friends until one day when one of them becomes discontent with the neighborhood. Focusing on their own needs with little regard for how each one's actions will affect the other, things quickly get out of control. When their world literally falls out from under them, they realize that sometimes sharing resources can lead to endless possiblities. I was fortunate to snag an F&G of this one while at ALA12 thanks to a recommendation from my friend Jillian. Loved both the w ...more
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the telling and the essence of the story, but despite the fact that it was a fable, somehow it bothered me that the rabbit's house was not underground and the owl's was not in a tree. I am not sure why, but because of that it didn't ring true. I can usually cast all kinds of assumptions aside when reading folktales or modern children's stories like the Berenstain Bears where the Bear family lives in a treehouse but otherwise does all the things human families do. But somehow in this pi ...more
Mar 27, 2016 rated it liked it
A nice enough book, though for a book that was written by a woman, purchased as a birthday gift by a woman and her daughter, and given to a girl, it's a little amazing that compared to the four women involved in getting this book to my daughter, zero of the characters are female. Maybe Gianna could also write a "Girl's Edition" where at least one, maybe even two, of the characters are not male. I already did, with a Sharpie!
Rachel B
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
This was a really cute, somewhat funny, book that my 4- and 6-year-old nieces enjoyed. It's about two friends (Owl and Rabbit) who learn that working together is better than competing with one another. The illustrations are lovely and detailed.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-alena, fiction
This was the favorite of the books I read to Alena today. Fun story with beautiful illustrations, a silly and understandable conflict, and sweet resolution. I am glad I found this author's books. I will definitely read all of them I can find.
Danielle Mootz
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Cute "frenemy" story with a very sweet ending.
Sweet, simple, short story about two friends whose pride comes before a (literal) fall.
Lauren Ditmar
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Grades - K-2

Genre - Traditional Literature

Unique Feature - The animals constantly battling against one another to then do something you would not think. Love the message.
April Dawn
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Book Title: Too Tall Houses
Short Description of the Book: In this book, Rabbit and Owl live in two tall houses on the top of a hill. These two characters begin competing with each other to build a taller house, which ends with both houses being destroyed. The characters realize that alone, they aren’t able to fix their problem. Finally they decide that if they work together, they have enough materials to rebuild one house that they can live in together.

FOCUS: Narrative Features I would Use in a
Travis Unterseher
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-for-children
Brief Review:
This book was nominated for the Buckaroo award for the 2016-17 school year by the Wyoming Library Association. I really liked this book the author is using concept fiction in the way that she is portraying some of the realities of friendship to the readers. The book also shows how working together and coming up with solutions is better than everyone having nothing. This book would be good for k-3 grade students.

Content Area:
Social Skills/Writing- I would use this book to show stu
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Rabbit and Owl live right next door to one another at the top of a hill in separate small houses. Rabbit likes growing vegetables and Owl likes the view of the forest. They were good friends. Until one day, Rabbit’s vegetables got so tall that they blocked Owl’s view of the forest. Rabbit refused to cut his vegetables down, so Owl built his house taller. Then Owl’s house was blocking the sun from reaching Rabbit’s garden, so Rabbit built a taller house and put his garden on the roof. So started ...more
Pamela Kramer
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Too Tall Houses" by Gianna Marino features a rabbit and an owl who coexist and live happily side by side until something happens to inject a bit of competition into their relationship.

Rabbit's garden grows so tall that it blocks Owl's view of the forest. Owl builds his house a bit taller but it blocks the sun from shining on Rabbit's vegetables. Rabbit builds his house still taller and plants a garden on top. The water from the rooftop garden falls on Owl and he grows angry.

With each animal com
Katelyn Pierro
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This will definitely be a book that I share to my students in the near future, if not sooner with my practicum students. This book is a wonderful story that tells of two friends who have to learn an important lesson in order to save their friendship. This book is a reassuring book to me, and I think it would be reassuring to elementary aged students with all that is going on in the world currently. It is a good reminder that sometimes, when you only think about yourself, you loose the things tha ...more
Robyn Jones
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, favorites
Rabbit and owl are neighbors and friends, but rabbit loves the sun on his garden and owl loves the moonlight view of the faraway land. When owl complains to rabbit that he can't see through the overgrown plants, rabbit is unsympathetic. Owl's solution is to build his house taller. That will not do for rabbit who builds his house taller too. And they keep at it, stealing the sky until they lose everything they thought they cared about.

My first read through with my 4 yr old was less than stellar.
Judy Lindow
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Nice big book, with pictures large enough to see by the whole class in a shared reading. Plus, the animal partnership of an owl and rabbit is always nice, for me at least (not a bunny for obvious reasons, heh heh).

Nothing especially scary, surprising, or unusual about the story, but it's very useful for the preK, K-2nd graders as they get caught up in competition a lot. The lesson learned is very clear: that it is better to be friends and not compete. I also liked the secondary message of takin
Corey Lynch
This story is about two neighbors, a rabbit and an owl, who have trouble living near each other as they have different interests. Their dispute over sight lines and sunlight dispersion leads to a succession of building that leaves them with the two tallest houses in the world with very unmanageable heights. At the peak of their construction both houses collapse and the two friends must pool their resources to build a new house that fulfills both of their needs.This story would be good to use in ...more
This is a story of friendship. Rabbit and Owl enjoy being neighbors and cohabitating in their individual lives. However, when one unintentionally steps on the other’s toes, trouble insues. Owl is mad that he can’t see the forest, so he builds his house taller. Rabbit is mad that sunlight isn’t reaching his garden, so he builds his house taller. Soon, their houses are so tall that they get blown down by the wind and neither has anything anymore. So, they both decide to use the resources they have ...more
Miss Pippi the Librarian
Rabbit and Owl live side by side on a hill. Rabbit likes to garden and Owl likes to look at the forest. All too soon, Rabbit irritates Owl and Owl angers Rabbit. They need to build taller houses to get away from each other!

What a fantastic tale about friendship. Friends get along and they fight, but they always make up. The words are simple and the pictures wonderfully action packed. The underlying theme of working together and being together is very touching.

2013 Storytime Theme: Tall
2017 Story
Mar 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Cathy by: California Young Reader Nominee 2015
Good friends learn a small but important lesson

Owl and Rabbit are good friends and live in two small houses next to each other. They are perfectly happy . . . until Rabbit's garden gets in the way of Owl's view. So Owl builds his house a little taller. Only that blocks the sun from Rabbit's vegetables. So Rabbit builds his house taller. And soon it's a house-building frenzy and the two now not-so-good friends have the two tallest houses in the world!

All it takes is a gust of wind to remind them
Ashley Saunders
Marino, G. (2012) Too tall houses. Viking.

Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

Choice Book

Two neighbors live in harmony until one day they have an argument. This begins a large competition between the two to see who can have the tallest house. They become too wrapped up in the competition to realize the danger they have put themselves in. When all is said and done they work together to build a home together that is just the right size. This book is a wonderful way to show students that competition i
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
One part The Butter Battle Book, one part the biblical story of Babel, Rabbit and Owl forget their friendship and become angsty and vengeful when they begin to compete with one another in house renovation projects. Eventually gravity forces them to accept the futility of this duel and they return to focusing on friendship rather than competition. A cute read, with excellent illustrations, and a strong, clear moral.
Bridget R. Wilson
Rabbit and Owl are neighbors. They both live in small houses until Owl needs a better view of the forest because Rabbit's garden has grown too tall. Owl's taller house blocks the sun from Rabbit's garden so Rabbit builds a bigger house and puts his garden on the roof. Will these two ever remember they're friends?

What I thought:A great story with such colorful illustrations. Too Tall Houses will be a wonderful addition to my Houses & Homes story time in March. I think the very last illustrati
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Rabbit and Owl live side by side in two little houses; Rabbit grows vegetables and Owl looks at the forest. Then the houses start getting in the way and they keep building them taller and taller until they have the two tallest houses in the world. But houses that high can't last and they fall to the ground. Rabbit and Owl figure out how to live together.

I love the illustrations of the houses as they get taller and taller. This is a great story about cooperation and getting along and working toge
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Gianna Marino was born in San Francisco and spent her early years galloping horses through Golden Gate Park. Her explorations expanded after graduating from high school and in order to afford her many journeys, Gianna had several jobs at once: apprenticing a muralist, a jewelry designer, a product designer and driving horse carriages through the park. Gianna explored many corners of the world, fro ...more