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Round Buildings, Square Buildings, and Buildings that Wiggle Like a Fish (A Borzoi book) Hardcover – September 11, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Clear, stunning photographs combine with a sincere, well-meaning text to lead readers on a tour of places that seem close to the author's heart, if not his sensibilities. Included are the wonders of Alhambra, the Taj Mahal and the Parthenon, and such unlikely but apt entries as New England shelters. In the chapters on doorways, ceilings, structure, etc., simple concepts and more complicated ones sit side by side and require some explanation. For example, to say that one building has more dignity than others without offering firm background on the criteria for judging architectural "dignity" renders the comparison meaningless. So is the statement that "Order and loveliness at York (Minster) have equal voices," since few readers will understand "voice" in this context. And the sentence structure can be confusing; the "This is" that begins many statements sets readers adrift for a few words until the picture is directly referred to. When the text works, the images are exceptional: Trinity Church next to the John Hancock tower in Boston "slumbers on like an old monk gathered up in his robes." Because of such references, and despite its flaws, the volume is certain to impress readers, and open their eyes to the architectural wealth around them each day. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7 This obtuse collection of photographs takes readers on a tour of major and minor buildings around the world. In the accompanying text Isaacson discusses the elements that give a building its character and attempts to explain how the harmony of these elements makes a structure beautiful. Unfortunately, the organization of the book is so fragmented, jumping from place to place, backwards and forwards through time, that the result is more a travelogue than a survey of architectural styles. After looking at the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, and Chartres, Isaacson examines building materials, windows, doors, roofs, and ornamentation. Some points are belabored, while others are not clearly defined, and the ``gee-whiz'' tone quickly becomes annoying. The 93 color photographs are mostly of high quality, and each is numbered for reference within the text. Because each building generally is allotted only one photograph, even when a different element is being discussed, readers are frequently required to turn back to a previous picture. An appended list of the photographs purports to offer additional information about the buildings and structures discussed but, for the most part, simply repeats information previously given. The lack of a bibliography, a glossary, and an index limits the book's usefulness. Jeanette Larson, Mesquite Public Library, Tex.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: A Borzoi book
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394893824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394893822
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.6 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Round Buildings, Square Buildings, Buildings That Wiggle Like A Fish won't fit into the curriculums of many schools but its appearance in 1988 earned it high recommendation as a basic introduction for all ages, to the world of architecture. This reprint of Round Buildings, Square Buildings, Buildings That Wiggle Like A Fish invites new generations to take a different look at the buildings we use. Beautiful photos abound.
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