"Somewhere in the Italian hills, a homing pigeon is released. She soars quickly and follows an old road, which (of course) leads to Rome." So begins Caldecott Medal-winning artist David Macaulay's visually festive journey that tracks the whimsical flight of a homing pigeon through the archways, over the terra-cotta rooftops, and between the columns of this most ancient and vibrant city: "Instead of traveling directly to her destination, which is standard pigeon procedure, she decides to take the scenic route." Macaulay's angle of vision pans back and forth between the pigeon's-eye view and that of a roaming cinematographer. The effect is a kaleidoscope of whirling, swooping, dizzying images that must resemble flight itself. Macaulay's intricately crosshatched pen-and-ink images of Rome--with its ancient amphitheater, Colosseum, Temple of Hercules, elaborate fountains, and bustling cafes (with a feast of crumbs for a travel-weary pigeon)--provide a dazzling display of architectural finery. We are so swept up in the homing pigeon's divergent path--marked on the black-and-white vistas by a thin red line--that we momentarily forget she has a task at talon. All is explained in the uplifting one-word message joyfully delivered by the pigeon to the sketch artist (Macaulay himself?) shown at work in the last scene of the book. Rome Antics
concludes with an aerial map of the city, marked with the pigeon's flight path. Roman sites from the Arch of Constantine to the Pantheon are briefly described as well. This lovely visual serenade to Rome is a delight for anyone who could fall in love with such a city as this. (All ages)
From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up. Macaulay's trademark bird's-eye views of famous works of architecture become in this book the literal substance of the text. Modern Rome is seen through the skewed perspective of a homing pigeon's erratic flight through the city streets as she delivers a message to an artist in a garret. Darting and swooping above rooftops and into alleyways, the bird takes readers on a haphazard tour as it catches an overhead view of the Colosseum, sees churches aslant and turned upside down, sails into the sky above a piazza, and makes brief forays down cobbled streets to search for crumbs. Macaulay adds sly touches of humor to the pen-and-ink sketches, as voracious cats eye the pigeon and people pursue their chores and pleasures, oblivious of the bird's flight, which is indicated by a thin red line. The famous landmarks are here, perhaps seen only as a piece of a cornice, the columns of a structure, or a section of an ancient wall. The book includes a map of the city "As the pigeon flies" with each structure numbered, and an addendum shows the 22 featured buildings with a paragraph or two of interesting facts about each one. As a guidebook to modern Rome, Macaulay's sketchbook is unconventional and too sophisticated for young children, but for those with a knowledge of, or a yearning to see one of the great cities of the world, it is full of informative details and amusing incidents.?Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.