Saturday 16 January 2021

A House of Mud

A House of Mud by Sophie Masson, illustrated by Katrina Fisher (Little Pink Dog Books) RRP HB $24.99
ISBN 9780648256328

Reviewed by Kylie Buckley

A House of Mud is a delightful recount of a family’s experience of building a mudbrick house together. The narrative is told in the first person by the eldest of the three children. In the beginning, the kids are excited by the thought of a new house and enjoy going to the vacant block and helping their parents to make the mud bricks. They see the process as ‘like making a cake’ and the result ‘like giant bars of chocolate’. However, it soon dawns on them that it will take weeks upon weeks to change the ‘air and grass and mud’ into a ‘house that will be just right’. When the children start to get bored, the eldest comes up with a great idea to make the experience more fun.  

The pencil and watercolour illustrations depict the busy family, and lively dog Tess, beautifully. The setting becomes uniquely Australian with the intermittent inclusion of cockatoos, kangaroos, magpies, possums, kookaburras and galahs curiously watching over the building’s progression.

Interestingly, this story was inspired by the author’s own experience of building a mudbrick house with her family in rural NSW. A House of Mud is an enjoyable tale suitable for children aged 4 years and over.

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