|Brick by brick|
Author: Sheffield, Heidi Woodward
As a little boy watches his father, a bricklayer, work hard to build the city, both dream of building a house of their own.
Kirkus Reviews (03/15/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
Booklist (+) (03/15/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/15/2020 *Starred Review* Papi is a bricklayer, building a city, brick by brick, while his proud son Luis builds too, book by book. Juxtaposed in side-by-side pages, Luis shows how he can climb at recess to touch the sky, just as Papi climbs the scaffold. While Papi makes mortar, Luis pinches and smooths and molds his clay to build a tiny house. They both dream of owning their own house someday, with a garden for Mama, and maybe a dog. One special Saturday Papi promises a “sorpresa!” (surprise), and they travel in their rumbling truck to a new house, made of Papi’s bricks! And Mama is at the door, unpacking boxes of “libros” (books) to put inside. It’s “nuestra casa para siempre—our always house.” Spanish words both in the text and cleverly inserted into the backgrounds convey the family's Latinx culture, as do Luis and his father's lunches of empanadas and horchata. Illustrations done in warm tones use photographs, digital painting, and collage to show the close relationship between father and son as they work and play together to build happiness. Adults and children alike will appreciate the exquisite details and clever mirroring in the story, and celebrate the characters' joyful work ethic and fulfilment of their dreams. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 03/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 1–3—"Mi papi es fuerte--my papi is strong. He's a bricklayer. His arms are like stone." The young narrator describing his father's work is not named in the text, but printed on one of his drawings is the name Luis. While discussing the stages of bricklaying, Luis explains parallels between his father's work and his own. "Papi's work is brick by brick. Mine is book by book." Though he appears to be quite young, Luis attends school, reads, and molds bricks to build a small house. He also describes a special dream. "I dream of a house for us. Nuestra casa para siempre--our always house." Predictably, father's bricks build that house. Bricks are the key element here; Sheffield also uses photographs of them in her collage illustrations. They add texture and a touch of realism in Papi's work and in views of the city buildings and the new house. The effect is a bit odd when she uses them to create the mottled brown/red skin of Luis and Papi. At times they have quite rosy cheeks, but often they appear to have irregular splotched complexions. The text is lively and peppered with Spanish words and phrases. VERDICT This story has a pleasant father/son relationship, and the pictures and explanations of bricklaying will likely interest children.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.