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Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC Hardcover – October 1, 2000

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 4-Crosbie and the Rosenthals clearly have a passion for form. In this alphabet, upper and lowercase letters are coupled with full- and double-page color photographs illustrating architectural details or terms. Thus, "E" is for the "Eave" on the Robie house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. "T" is for the "Turret" on a marvelously ornate pink Victorian in California. The text consists of rhyming questions. ("Look under a roof/For eaves broad and plain./Can eaves give you shelter/From the sun and the rain?") They serve as an entr?e to discussion for young children, but the imposed rhyme scheme is distracting. Nevertheless, the book is attractive and informative. Artfully composed, the photographs command attention and arouse interest. Source notes combining definitions and identifications conclude the title. Slipping this volume in between Stephen T. Johnson's even more fundamental Alphabet City (Viking, 1995) and Diane Maddex and Roxie Munro's more in-depth Architects Make Zigzags (Preservation, 1986) would build awareness for an underappreciated, yet omnipresent art.
Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 4-8. Playful, inviting rhymes and full-color photos from across America introduce both the alphabet and diverse architectural elements, decorative to structural, in this delightful book. Bold, colorful capital and small block-print letters are easy to distinguish and identify; a brief rhyme accompanying each element ends with a question, encouraging creative thought and scrutiny of the exemplary photo. For B, an ornately trimmed balcony is "A perch way up high / To spy far and near. / When you look from a balcony / What sights will appear?" Well-chosen visuals illustrate fancy "finials" and "turrets," as well as humble "log cabins" and "silos," although terms such as "eave" or "quoin" may be challenging for beginning ABC learners. A clear, well-written afterward defines architecture and further clarifies the terms, reproducing each photo and citing its location. An informative, fun architectural journey, that encourages exploration and appreciation of its many forms and functions, on both pages and outings. Shelle Rosenfeld
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810942186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810942189
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael J. Crosbie has made significant contributions in the fields of architectural journalism, research, teaching, and practice. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Catholic University and is a registered architect in the State of Connecticut. He has served as an editor at Architecture: The AIA Journal, Progressive Architecture,, and is editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, a quarterly journal on religious art and architecture. He is also a frequent contributor to Architectural Record and writes about architecture and design for the Hartford Courant. He is the author of more than 20 books on architecture, including five books for children. Dr. Crosbie is Chair of the Department of Architecture at the University of Hartford, and has served as an adjunct professor at Roger Williams University and Catholic University. He has also lectured and served as a visiting critic at architecture schools in North America and abroad, including the University of California (Berkeley), the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the Moscow Architectural Institute. Dr. Crosbie has practiced with Centerbrook Architects and Steven Winter Associates.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
By now you've probably plowed your way through lots of those children's books that are about impossible for grownups to enjoy. I won't mention any names, but I've tried lots of them and the kids don't seem to like them much either! Here's a book that children enjoy, and that also offers something to us parents. The photos are lively and pretty (and there's a handy list in the back that tells us where they were taken). The verse is clever and fresh and informative. And you walk away from the book understanding a bit more about architecture, a subject that's endlessly fascinating. I'll have to check my son's latest Lego structure to see if he's incorporated any arches, corbels, gargoyles, or other architectural features into his creations. Then I'll know for sure that this book has been as successful with him as it has been with me! Incidentally, this is a good gift book for the school. I'm giving one to my daughter's 2nd grade classroom.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Claire Gallagher on November 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A delightful book of engaging interactive text and glorious photographic images which will appeal to both children and adults. Compared to other architecture alphabet books, "Archibet" and "An Architectural Alphabet" for instance, this book not only delights the eye but asks the reader to "read" the image and engage with the text. An appendix offers details regarding the specific location of the element in each photograph as well as the full definition of the term associated with each letter of the alphabet. Put it on your Christmas list.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By peachyqueen27 on July 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband is an architect, so I bought this book for our (future) children. The photography is wonderful. We think it is an excellent introduction to architecture, and I love how it asks a question of the reader after each alphabet. For example, it asks if you think a keystone looks like a tooth.
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