From School Library Journal
Grade 3-7–The works of seven master builders come to life in this attractive introduction to architecture. Featured structures include the Eiffel Tower, the mosques of Mimar Koca Sinan in Turkey, and the varied works of Brazil's O Aleijadinho. Zaunders opens each chapter with a significant scene from the individual's career, followed by historical and architectural background. The focus of each section varies, reflecting the diverse projects. The one on the Brooklyn Bridge, for example, mostly describes the physical challenges of the construction, along with the efforts of the three Roebling family members who saw it through to completion. In the chapter on Antoni Gaudi, more emphasis is placed on the man's life and the inventive artistic qualities he brought to his work. Munro's captivating artwork provides clear visual reference without overwhelming viewers with busyness. The illustrations range from large paintings to smaller images adorning the edges of the pages. They convey both the grandeur and the subtle details described in the text. The skyward view of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, for instance, shows its sheer size, but also notes the intricate workings of the hoist needed to build the dome, along with the oxen supplying the power. Other titles may cover more buildings or dig further into the mechanics of construction, but this is an engaging first look at the glories of structural design.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
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Gr. 3-6. The husband-and-wife team who introduced amateur explorers in Crocodiles, Camels & Dugout Canoes: Eight Adventurous Episodes (1998) and aviation history in Feathers, Flaps & Flops: Fabulous Early Fliers (2001) looks at notable architectural and engineering constructions and their creators. In eight chapters, they tell the stories of Brunelleschi's dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the mosques of Mimar Koca Sinan, the sculpture and architecture of Brazil's Lisboa, the Roeblings' Brooklyn Bridge, Eiffel's tower in Paris, the buildings of Barcelona's Gaudi, and Van Alen's Chrysler Building in New York City. Zaunders' narrative approach to nonfiction adds an appealing dimension to these artistic and engineering feats. Munro's often-beautiful ink drawings with color washes capture the special qualities of each construction. Her use of unusual perspectives lends drama to many of the compositions, and well-chosen details keep even large projects within the scale of human use and understanding. Going beyond "the usual suspects" in its choice of subjects, this large-format book will be a stimulating addition to children's architecture collections. Carolyn Phelan
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