As always, I wish there were “halves” to the rating system. This is a 4.5 and a strong one at that. But I am not “jumping up and down” and “omg this is on my BBF” (Best Book Forever) list. It is just a fun book. Kids will enjoy it and most adults will not mind re-reading.
Megan Maynor has written a modern twist to nursery rhyme, “The House That Jack Built.” Not only is “Jack” a girl (our heroine Lola), she does not build her castle alone. Well, at first, she starts out by herself, but quickly finds friends along the way to help. Her sandcastle grows as each one of the new friends use their own unique talents to help create a most amazing of amazing of castles. Also, the children are mixed (boys and girls) and one even of color.
The colors that Kate Berube uses matches the story perfectly. When everyone is up and happy the colors reflect that. And when nature does not cooperate as Lola and friends had hoped, her sadness is magnificently captured. The also hidden treat (spoiler) of mermaids hiding in the clouds and surf is a fun addition.
The only part that is a little off-putting, but interesting, is the fact Lola never learns the real names of the other children. They are the “little guy” and “Michigan girl” and so on. It does help keep this mostly Lola’s story, but it is a little unusual to not know the friends. However, the answer to this I assume is that these friendships will be a temporary as the castle itself will become.