It’s exactly what this town needs.
I adore this book, Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King is a story about endings and new beginnings, imagination and determination and a sense of community.
The old milk bar around the corner from young Davey’s house in being pulled down and a new building is replacing it. Davey observes the daily deconstruction of the milk bar and each day takes a piece of timber home. The builder and the reader’s imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what young Davey might be building.
It’s only until right at the end the masterpiece is unveiled with a timely message for us all.
I love the illustrations in this story as they not only accompany the text but they add more depth to each page. Stephen Michael King has used recycled garbage, cardboard, pen and ink to create the illustrations and this combination brings life to the story. Throughout the images we can get a real sense of the community at work and the role we all play in our environment.
So what else can you do with this book?
- We all throw out too much and many of this can be reused or recycled. Investigate what you can do with things that are no use to you anymore. Rather than just throwing them out can you create something new? Give it to someone else? Or recycle it in the best possible way.
- Create your own doll sized house purely from recycled and reused materials.
- What sort of materials are best for the environment? Compare and contrast different types of floorboards available to the community – work out which ones are best using categories such as value for money, ecological impact and community impact.
- Watch building really makes us think about how important people and space is to each of us. Many of us get caught up in consumption and needing the best of everything. Is there a place in your community where people can come together?
- Design a space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come to share the love of where they live – without having to buy things.
- Look at the slang used throughout the story – what do each of these slang words mean? How does this portray Dave the builder?
- What is the significance of Davey not saying many things throughout the story?
Some great thinking questions:
Do endings always have new beginnings?
If all the buildings in your town were replaced how would that effect your community both negatively and positively?
Select one architect who has changed the way we build sustainably. Find out how they approach design and how they want to improve life for all.
Let me know how you go! It’s a beautiful book – I hope you can enjoy it too.