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A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Houses

A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Houses

Steve Jenkins, Illustrated by Robbin Gourley
Charlesbridge
2018
32 pp.
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The sight of a common squirrel can inspire squeals of delight from young children. They might ask, “Is it going home?” as the squirrel disappears up a tree. A House in the Sky, Steve Jenkins’s lovely story on animal homes, provides answers that will satisfy such questions while providing more detail for a similarly curious adult or older child. “Some houses are made of bubbles,” reads one passage, for example. Below, the author elaborates: “A Siamese fighting fish takes a gulp of air and then blows it back out. It does this over and over again, creating a floating nest made of bubbles to protect its babies.”

Illustrator Robbin Gourley’s playful yet beautiful renderings reinforce the book’s message. “Look up—a house in the sky!” reads another page. The common swift, rendered in muted browns against a pale blue sky, spends months on the wing, we learn, eating, drinking, and sleeping in the air.
Young children are naturally curious about animals. Jenkins’s sweet exploration of how and where they live provides an opportunity to connect with older readers and to dig a little deeper together.

About the author

The reviewer is a Deputy editor at Science.