What You Need to Know:|
• Two neighbors compete over whose house is the tallest and the most ornate.
• The size of the book is unique (very tall) which is intriguing, but may be a problem for fitting on your bookshelf.
• Some of the vocabulary will be tough for younger readers, and the names may be difficult to pronounce.
• The author and illustrator both live in Geneva, Switzerland.
Sky High raises some interesting questions about competition, priorities and consequences. Two men, Agenor-Agobar Poirier des Chapelle and Willigis Kittcly Junior have houses next door to each other. Their homes start out lovely and simple, but after one of them adds a solid gold door, the one-upmanship gets out of control. They add sculptures, paintings, mosaics, a movie theater, a tennis court and even a wave pool. Their monstrosities grow taller and more elaborate as they each get help from master carpenters and high paid architects. In the end, both projects fail in ways that highlight the futility and irony of such ridiculous endeavors.
The unusual physical size of Sky High works perfectly with the theme of the story, and the detailed line drawings are striking. There is no dialogue, and the text is limited to descriptions of various items related to the buildings. That being said, the words that are used might be challenging, and the type is a little small. Otherwise this unique book is a welcome addition to the picture book world. It may even inspire future architects and designers.
2012, 48 pages
Character/Values, Construction, Exquisite Illustrations
• Why do you think it was so important to have such a tall house?
• Would you want to have the tallest house in your neighborhood?
• If you could design your own house, what special features would you include?
• In what ways do you see people competing with each other in your own neighborhood?
• Do you think that the man with the tallest house was happy in the end? Why or why not?
• What do you think is the moral of the story?
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