Brick by Brick
by Sheffield, Heidi Woodward; Sheffield, Heidi Woodward (ILT)

A first picture book by an award-winning literary newcomer celebrates the warm bond between a little boy and his bricklayer father as they work side by side to help build their city home and achieve the goals of their future. Simultaneous eBook. Illustrations.

Heidi Woodward Sheffield ( has received numerous awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for her illustrations, and Brick by Brick is her first picture book. On any given day, she can be seen taking photographs of textures that inspire her stories and collages. She especially drawn to old brick buildings, and likes daydreaming about the strong hands that built them and the people who lived there. She lives in Northville, Michigan.

*Starred Review* Papi is a bricklayer, building a city, brick by brick, while his proud son Luis builds too, book by book. Juxtaposed in side-by-side pages, Luis shows how he can climb at recess to touch the sky, just as Papi climbs the scaffold. While Papi makes mortar, Luis pinches and smooths and molds his clay to build a tiny house. They both dream of owning their own house someday, with a garden for Mama, and maybe a dog. One special Saturday Papi promises a "sorpresa!" (surprise), and they travel in their rumbling truck to a new house, made of Papi's bricks! And Mama is at the door, unpacking boxes of "libros" (books) to put inside. It's "nuestra casa para siempre-our always house." Spanish words both in the text and cleverly inserted into the backgrounds convey the family's Latinx culture, as do Luis and his father's lunches of empanadas and horchata. Illustrations done in warm tones use photographs, digital painting, and collage to show the close relationship between father and son as they work and play together to build happiness. Adults and children alike will appreciate the exquisite details and clever mirroring in the story, and celebrate the characters' joyful work ethic and fulfilment of their dreams. Preschool-Grade 2. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

A young boy dreams of a para siempre—forever—house for his family. Young Luis cherishes and admires his strong papi, who is a bricklayer. "He helps build the city, brick by brick." While Luis is at school, Papi is at work, spreading mortar thick, tapping bricks in place, scraping drips, and repeating the process. Luis dreams of a house the Latinx family can call its own, with a garden for Mama and maybe a dog. At midday, Papi eats lunch on a bench while Luis eats in the school cafeteria. Mirrorlike images show both brown-skinned father and son with similar lunchboxes, both eating Mama's special empanadas. One Saturday, Papi takes Luis for a surprise ride out of the city and into more rural terrain. There, Luis sees a new house made of Papi's bricks, and Mama is moving their items in. This is illustrator Sheffield's debut as a picture-book author. She excels with boisterously textured, mixed-media illustrations, many incorporating photographs, digital painting, and collage, capturing vibrant colors. Told in the first person, with minor Spanis h interspersed ("horchata," "una sorpresa," "fuerte") and occasional sound effects printed in all-caps ("SCRRRRAPES," "KERCHUNKS," "WHIRRRRRRR"), the written text will engage the youngest readers. Her command of pacing, however, is shaky; the sense of elapsed time is unclear, and the ending, though satisfying, is abrupt. Lovely and heartfelt if a little off in the pacing. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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