Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Suzanne Slade & illustrated by Rebecca Bond

Pub Date: July 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-58089-262-9
Publisher: Charlesbridge

A simple, well-constructed overview takes a close look at how the magnificent house at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was built on an empty piece of land with a view of the Potomac.

It was George Washington who conceived of a superb residence for the American President and directed its development over the 11 years it took to build, including surveying, vetting the design and administering the construction from his presidential office to bring the project in on schedule. Slade’s clear description of the steps in the building process accompanies Bond’s amiable edge-to-edge detailed watercolor depictions of the construction site and its busy progress. A cumulative rhyme—“the house that George built”—accompanies the compact, informative text and serves as a place holder and mnemonic to convey the stages of this impressive undertaking. A charming illustration of John and Abigail Adams, standing at last in a great hall not entirely swept of workmen’s tools and stray nails, shows the first of the residents who would leave their mark on this principle residence of democracy. The author’s note and list of some of the improvements made by those in residence over the years (tennis courts for Theodore Roosevelt; a vegetable garden for the Obamas) add to a fascinating first history of the White House.

Sure to see—and worthy of—plenty of use, and not just in election years.

(author’s list of sources and suggested resources to learn more) (Informational picture book. 5-10)