Book Review: Bottle Houses

Monthly Book Reviews

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker
From Miss Melia at Main

Have you ever heard of a bottle village? While it could represent many things, the bottle village in Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey is a one-of-a-kind landmark located in southern California. Created by Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey, the village consists of 13 one-room structures, 22 sculptures, and various walkways. The unique quality? Everything is made from recycled glass bottles and stuff Grandma Prisbrey found in the landfill!

Bottle Houses

After traveling around the country with her family and not having a permanent house, Grandma Prisbrey decided she wanted to build a home in southern California where she had some land. However, she didn’t have a lot of money, and thought there must be a way to build a house cheaply. She decided to go to the local garbage dump and poke around to see what she could find. It was amazing how many glass bottles there were! So Grandma Prisbrey started collecting them and took all that she found back to her property. She had so many she decided to build a house with them.


(Watch the full version of this film here.)

After the first house, Grandma Prisbrey decided she needed more room to store all the neat things she found at the dump. So she built another house. And another. And another! Then she decided she wanted other pretty things, like a wishing well and a birdbath. She built everything by hand, using the salvaged bottles and cement. When she got tired of building with bottles, Grandma Prisbery made sculptures out of other things she found at the dump.

Bottle Houses tells Grandma Prisbrey’s artistic story with colorful illustrations by Julie Paschkis, who visited the Bottle Village to get an accurate picture for the book. Even though the landmark has been damaged by an earthquake and is no longer open to the public, Grandma Prisbrey’s ideas and talent are still admired today, and the village is considered a great work of folk art.

More From the Web

  • Be sure to check out photos of the Bottle Village!
  • Find Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village on Facebook.
  • At the library, we like bottles, too! Check out these archived Family Zone posts featuring bottle crafts!
  • If you found Grandma Prisbrey’s story fascinating, you may also like another California landmark, Watts Towers. There is a book about it, too!
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