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The Building Boy

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A beautiful, epic story about life, death and seeing the world, that should sit alongside classics like The Snowman, this is the first picture book Costa-shortlisted Ross Montgomery.

About the Author

Ross Montgomery started writing stories as a teenager, when he should have been doing homework, and continued doing so at university. After graduating, he decided to channel these skills into teaching at a primary school. He wrote his books when he really should have been marking homework. He lives in London with his girlfriend, a cat and many, many dead plants. The Building Boy is his first picture book.David Litchfield lives in Bedfordshire. He first started to draw when he was very young, creating comics for his siblings. Since then David's work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and on T-shirts. He has also exhibited his illustrations in both solo and group shows in the UK, Europe and America. He is the author/illustrator of the award winning picture book The Bear and the Piano.


"Beautiful and deceptively simple... [a] sensitive and haunting tale." --Booktrust
"Brilliantly inventive... quirky and life-affirming, with a sense of the surreal."
--The Bookseller
"A little white boy completes Grandma's dream house with a hammer and a bit of magic. Grandma used to be an architect. She built "the tallest skyscrapers, the most beautiful palaces," and many other buildings. Every night the little boy sits in Grandma's lap in Grandma's favorite chair in the study, in front of a roaring fire, and looks at photographs from Grandma's past. She plans to build a beautiful house for the two of them that will be on a hill on the horizon beyond the sea. But time is marching on; Grandma becomes too old to build a house, to make dinner, to climb the stairs. One day, the boy comes home to find her gone, and now the house is "just rooms." But he has an idea. He works for months building, through wind and snow and rain. Finally, he has it: a gigantic...grandmother! (There's a little chimney sprouting from her metallic blue hair.) She takes him by the hand and leaps into the air. They fly over gigantic fields, walk on the ocean, and scale tall skyscrapers. Finally, he sees it. On a hill above the city and across the sea sits the house that Grandma has started for him. It becomes The Building Boy's School for Young Architects. Montgomery's imaginative tale of grief and legacy is refreshingly untethered by logic. Litchfield's illustrations amplify his themes with originality and a warm palette. Sad and sweet. (Picture book. 4-7)" --Kirkus Reviews
"A boy and his grandma, a former architect, live together in a cozy home. They sit together, poring over photos of buildings she had designed and talking of the house she would soon build for the boy. But soon does not come fast enough, for the grandma passes away and the home is now just a house. Inspired, the boy constructs a giant version of his grandma that comes to life and carries the boy to the half-completed house she had begun. An endearing and satisfying twist brings closure to the boy and to the story. Themes of self-reliance, overcoming grief, celebration of the elderly, and gender equality are quiet backdrops to this imaginative tale. The surrealism of the text is perfectly paired with the surrealism of Litchfield's unique illustrations. A crowning touch is the angularity in the illustrations, a subtle nod to architecture." Reviewer: Wendy Miller Kibler; Ages 1 to 5." -- Children's Literature

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