Slade, S., & Bond, R. (ill.) (2012). The house that George built. Watertown, MA.: Charlesbridge. ISBN: 9781580892629
Annotation: After George Washington was elected the first President of the United States, he decided to build a special house in which all future presidents would live while in office.
Reaction: I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this history of the construction of the White House. When I picked up this book, I was a little concerned that it wouldn’t be anything more than the repetitive “This is the house that Jack (George, in this case) built” poem, but Slade pairs that structure with additional information about how George Washington got the White House built. Granted, I did not know much about the White House to begin with, but I learned a lot thanks to Slade, and I think 10-12 year olds will really appreciate the easy to understand text describing this historic event that is often glossed over in history classes.
Bond does a great job of depicting the different phases of construction for the White House. The two page spreads show the large scale of this project and all the many, various people involved in completing construction.
I would use this book as part of a 5th grade history unit. Students can use some of the resources Slade lists at the end of the book to learn more about the White House and the renovations it has undergone since construction was completed.
Media Used: Watercolor and ink on watercolor paper
Illustrator’s Website: None