Book Mama: Books about Building Dreams

Books about Building Dreams

Boy Mama Teacher Mama  Books about Building Dreams

I was going through our books looking for something my son needed for school and realized just how many books we have about creative people with big dreams- people who want to build a dream house, who want to build flying machines and more. And I thought to myself, “Well, there’s a post right there! ” So here are our favorite books about people building their dreams!

Creaky Old House: A Topsy-Turvy Tale of a Real Fixer-Upper by Linda Ashman

We love our house in every way-

or did, that is, till yesterday.

Pa was headed out the door

when-CLANG!–the doorknob hit the floor.

This is where all the fun and chaos begins. The family searches everywhere to find a screw to fix the doorknob. When they are unable to find the right screw, they head to Wally’s Hardware Store “that’s Wally’s built in 1910, and never cleaned-not once since then” where they pick up a new doorknob which unfortunately doesn’t fit.  So the next stop is “Dorothy’s Door Emporium” for a new door. The new door doesn’t fit either, but leads the family to redesign the house to fit the new door. Then something simple and wonderful happens to solve the family’s problem.

This is my eldest’s favorite. He knows the whole thing by heart. He and his dad read it together and laugh and laugh. The rhymes are wonderful, the pictures so details and fun to look at and the story itself is really, really good!!

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Jack, from the backseat, said to his dad,

This car is ok. This car is not bad.

But it’s just a car. Nothing great. Nothing grand.

It’s nothing at all like the car I have planned.

Jack’s car is definitely amazing- with a swimming pool, fish tank, fire place, instant snack bar and exhaust that smells like muffins or roses– what could be better? Well, if the car could go underwater AND fly like an airplane that wouldn’t hurt either. So grab this book, “sit back, relax, stay right where you are. It’s time to reveal [this] spectacular car!”

Another family favorite.  The idea of a car that can do all this just fascinates my eldest.  I love the retro illustrations and smart rhymes.  We are so excited that Van Dusen has written another If I Built Book and we cannot wait until October when it hits the bookstores!

Other building books by Chris Van Dusen If I Built a House (October 2012) and Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit


Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty

Young Iggy Peck is an architect

and has been since he was two,

when he built a great tower–in only an hour–

with nothing but nappies and glue.

Young Iggy builds a great Sphinx from “dirt clods” and the St. Louis Arch from “pancakes and coconut pies.” He builds churches from fruit and temples from modeling clay.  His parents are so proud of their young architect and Iggy continues to build as he grows. That is until he gets to second grade where, Miss Lila Greer, his teacher, has a passionate distaste for anything related to architecture due to being left behind on “architect’s tour of the 95th floor” as a young girl. Miss Greer made Iggy tear down his tower made from chalk with threats of a visit to the principal.  And, then, “with no chance to build, his interest was killed. Now second grade was a bore.” Poor Iggy hated school. That is until one day when the class is on a hike and the footbridge collapses.  Iggy gathers his classmates and together they build a new bridge from “Boots, tree roots and strings, fruit roll-ups and things (some of which one should not mentioned) were stretched ridge to ridge in a glorious bridge dangling from shoestring suspension.”

This book was one of those “finds” at our local bookstore.  I saw it, read it and took it right home. My son immediately liked it. The pictures are wonderful, the rhymes are intelligent and the lesson is important.  This is a book all teachers and parents should read to help them remember the importance of honoring the passions of all children.

Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty


Rosie Revere is a brilliant inventor.  She creates amazing gadgets and gizmos and dreams of becoming an engineer. One day when her aunt (Rosie the Riveter) visits and mentions her own unfinished goal (to fly), Rosie sets to work building a contraption to make her aunt’s dream come true. When her work is done, it hovers, but does not fly. Rosie is devastated and deems her invention a failure. Her aunt, on the other hand, insists that her “brilliant first flop was a raging success!” And together they “get busy onto the next.” Rosie learns that “life might have failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit.”

Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen


Violet Van Winkle has been fixing appliances in her house since she was two years old. By eight, she is creating mind-blowing contraptions like the Bicycopter and the Tubbubbler.  Kids at school do not understand her passion and tease her terribly. One day, Violet sees a sign for an upcoming air show. She works hard for two weeks to create her own flying machine for the show. On her way there, however, she comes across some boaters who need rescuing.  Violet stops to save the boaters, but misses the show.  When she returns home, she is heartbroken, but her broken heart is soon warmed by the swarm of people outside her house there to celebrate her brave rescue.

The Flying Hockey Stick by Jolly Roger Bradfield

Barnaby was  a boy who had wanted something for years. He wanted more than anything to fly like a bird.  Ever since he could remember, he had been trying to make some sort of machine that would get him off the ground, if only for a few feet.

And finally, Barnaby did it. Using a hockey stick, an electric fan, his mother’s umbrella and an extension cord, he created the “Flying Hockey Stick.” He collected extension cords from all the neighbors, kissed his mother goodbye and set off to fly around the world. Once in flight, Barnaby has all sorts of adventures– he rescues an old woman from a burning building, saves a captain who has fallen off his ship and helps a hunter escape from a pride of hungry lions.  When they all return home safely, the old woman promises to bake Barnaby cookies every Tuesday, the sea captain made him a ship in a bottle and the hunter gave him a huge moose head.  “Now there are some people who will tell you that Barnaby just dreamed this adventure.” So now you will have to read the book and decide for yourself.

Playhouse by Robert Munsch

One day Renee went to her father and said, “Pleeeeease make me a playhouse! Our house is way out in the middle of the woods , and I have nobody to play with except my brothers. I need a playhouse.”

And so Renee’s father built her a wonderful playhouse with “real windows and a slide and a ladder and an upstairs and a downstairs.”  Renee was happy with her playhouse for a while and then decided that she needed a “play barn” to go with her playhouse.  So her mother set to building a play barn for Renee. Now, as you can imagine the play barn was fun for a while, but Renee wanted more and more. She wanted a play cow for her barn and a tractor and bulldozer and finally she asks for a play mommy and a play daddy” and that is when Renee’s parents have had enough and play a little trick on her help her learn a lesson.

Other building books:

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10 thoughts on “Book Mama: Books about Building Dreams

  1. Pingback: Discover Great Picture Books Each Day

  2. I haven’t seen any of these books but now I really want to find them, they look great. I’m guilty of not being a little more varied with the books I buy but I’m going to buy these ones because it’s good for my girls to know about building things

  3. oooh, those “If I built a car” etc books look like they’d be great. Children would be so inspired to create one of their own. I’ll be sure to remember these books and this list because they will really come in handy. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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