Sunday, February 16, 2014

PB 14:14 Day 3: PATTERNS with "The House That George Built"

Welcome to Day 3! I am so loving this, you guys! Thanks so much for participating. Well, here's my book for today, another mentor text for PATTERNS. By the way, February 2014 marks my FOURTH YEAR of blogging. I am now beginning my FIFTH YEAR of being a blogger about writing. Woo-hoo!!!

Title: The House That George Built
Author: Suzanne Slade
Illustrator: Rebecca Bond
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Year: 2012
Words: 1190

This is the story of the house that George built. With a few extra bricks, mortar, and words. This is a nonfiction book suitable for 4th and 5th graders, but my daughter, who is 7, also enjoys it.

I chose this book for PATTERNS because it uses three patterns. 1) It is patterned after the story The House that Jack Built. 2) The specific pattern of that book is a building pattern, where each line builds on the previous line, and repeats the phrase until the final story is told. 3) Most of the spreads in the book have the left side telling prose, then the right side has the poetic, song-like version of the build-upon pattern part of the story.

Here are the first three spreads:


"George had many responsibilities as the first president. There were laws to pass, important people to meet, and an entire country to run! Although George was the busiest guy in te land, he wanted to create a home where future presidents would live. So George set out to build a special house that would be a symbol of this great new nation."

"This is the story
of the President's House
that George Built."


"First George looked for the perfect place to put this fine house. He searched the land and discovered a beautiful wooded hill in Maryland. On that hill George found a lovely spot overlooking the sparkling Potomac River."

"This is the lot,
that grand, scenic spot,
for the President's House that George built."


"Next George needed a plan for the President's House. He held a contest and offered $500 or a gold medal to the person with the best design. When the entries started arriving, George got worried. Some drawing were too small an simple for this strong, growing nation. Others were too fussy and frilly for this hardworking, new nation.

Then George spied a magnificent drawing with majestic columns, grand staircases, and a stately oval room. James Hoban's design was just right, and he won the contest."

"This is the design,
that would stand for all time,
that was drawn for the lot,
that grand, scenic spot,
for the President's House that George built."

It goes on and on until the final page starts "This is the day, that John came to stay, under the roof..." and tells about the wood, the stone, the brick, the foundation...all in its predictable rhythmic rhyme.

This book is great for younger readers too because you could just simply read the shorter parts and have a quicker, more FUN read. But as an adult and as a writer of nonfiction, I personally love to read the longer prose parts with the book.

So here is yet another example of how a picture book could possibly be patterned. It doesn't have to have the same exact pattern, rhyme, and meter of this particular story, but you could still come up with your own "building" stories. I'm sure there's a list out there somewhere collecting titles of books that do just this very thing. If anyone who has one, a list that it, and is reading this, please add this book to your list.

See you tomorrow, everyone!


  1. what a fabulous use of pattern. I always loved the house that Jack built and can see that it has been used very effectively in this story. I am loving being part of this thank you so much. I am reading the other reviews and learning such a huge amount. I am especially enjoying seeing picuter books that I might never have known about. Thank you

  2. I'm having a great time too, Christie! The House that George Built sounds like one of those rare books that makes learning fun. Nice post!

  3. I am glad that you analyzed a book that I am familiar with. I love this book. I love the pattern and you did a great job with the analysis. Thanks for sharing :D

  4. I'm glad you all liked it!!! And even more happy that you're having so much fun with the challenge. Thanks.

  5. This was a perfect example of patterns...loved the review Christie and thought that the author really used the technique perfectly!


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