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  • Alex Alexander

BOOK CLUB: What We’ll Build

A father and daughter set about laying foundations for their life together. Using their own special tools, they get to work, building memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe and love to keep them warm.


‘What We’ll Build’ by Oliver Jeffers is such a heartfelt picture book… What is it about this author that manages get me to tear up every time I read it? The words are simple and scarce the rhyming is unpredictable and follows no real rhythm and yet the sum of all it’s parts create a melodic overture that elicits and stirs emotion .

Perhaps because the story is about a Dad and his daughter, perhaps because I have 2 daughters one in kindergarten and one at uni, perhaps because I see the possibilities of the future in my 6 year old and can look back at what I have built with my 18 year old …perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. The simple truth is it’s a really good book and more so because it speaks to a reciprocal relationship between parent and child one of mutual give and take and one thats both nostalgic and contemporary at the same time.


Now I am not sure what the family dynamic is in this story; is he a widower, a divorced dad, a single weekend parent? That doesn’t seem to be important.


It’s really just a story about a dad standing in front of his daughter telling her that he loves her.


Relatable to both kids and adults — Parents will enjoy the nuances between the lines and the words that don’t need to be said. Kids 4+ will enjoy this for its illustration, colour, simplicity and dream like wholesomeness.


This line gets me every time:


‘Let’s build a door where there was none.’


A dad holds up a red door and starts building it where the house will eventually be. One red door in the middle of nowhere.. Their vision so strong that the red door symbolises opportunity and manifests the house and their future together.

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