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From the Good Mountain: How Gutenberg Changed the World Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-While technically a biography, this beautifully illustrated title is also a history of the early printed book. Through a series of riddles, Rumford explains and illustrates the materials and process Gutenberg used to create the first printed book. By describing the creation of each material used (paper, ink, colored pigments, leather, metal type, etc.), he shows just how difficult it was. The author packs in a great deal of information regarding bookmaking, illuminated manuscripts, and paper craft, but the detail is not overwhelming. The meticulous pen-and-ink drawings are colored with watercolor and gouache and clearly demonstrate (sometimes humorously) the processes described in the text. After describing the materials, Rumford walks readers through the (then) revolutionary process of using a printing press. The author's passion for early bookmaking shines through in the writing. In the epilogue, he explains how little is known of Gutenberg's life and quickly summarizes the printing process since the 1450s. He also poses a question about what future books will look like. A nontraditional keyword list invites readers to do Internet searches to find out more information. This book truly is a labor of love-it took the author more than two years to write and illustrate. For public library collections, this will take some (very worthwhile) hand-selling. It would be a beautiful addition to social-studies units about medieval Europe, inventions, and even literacy.-Lisa Crandall, Capital Area District Library, Holt, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
“...a beautiful addition to social-studies units about medieval Europe, inventions, and even literacy.” ―School Library Journal, starred
“…a lyrical investigation of the high tech world of the fifteenth century.” ―BCCB
“[an] expressive introduction to Gutenberg and his revolutionary printing press.” ―Publishers Weekly
“...offers fascinating descriptions of the steps and materials involved in 15th-century bookmaking."--Kirkus "…intriguingly designed and vividly illustrated…” ―Booklist
Top customer reviews
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The illustrations are beautifully done with such special details showing how the written word was developed by Gutenburg. You get accurate
information on how this was done and James Rumford made it interesting and informative. It gave the reader great knowledge about a very
important person in the book world, but made it fun and fascinating to read.The book had a unique way of teaching you about the written
word and Gutenburg.
I would highly recommend this book for adults and children. I hope James Rumford continues to illustrate and write
books like this for all of us to enjoy in the future.
Instead it should have said that it took the man Gutenberg and a lot of creativity to make a book. My grandkids seemed quite interested in it though, and the thought that there was not always an easy way to create and print a book. I rate it "pretty good", not great.
What do clothes rags, bones, hides, horns and hooves have in common? That is what they used to make the first paper! What gift did goats provide? How was gold leaf first created? How about ink? Learn the answers to these questions and more before moving on to the first printing press and books created by Gutenberg.
The epilogue at the end gives a more detailed summary of books throughout the centuries bringing it right up to date asking the question, "Will all of tomorrow's books be made of silicon and light and be connected by the Internet to the world, or will they be something we can't even imagine today?" Lovely book!
The whole process of the first book is then told, from how the paper was made, to how the printing press was constructed, and how the pages were sewn together. You really get a sense of the time and energy it took to make a book. Although it was not a simple process, it did make books easier to publish and eventually made reading a skill available to even the poorest of people.
The book begins with a portrait of the city of Mainz, Germany, where the first book was printed, and ends with the same scene lit by a rosy dawn. The watercolor painting is gorgeous.
Much of the action takes place in margins. The characters are beautifully painted anonymous workers all contributing to the production of the mysterious book. On every page there is something surprising to learn about how a book is made.
People are busily boiling rags and bones, processing ink, pressing paper. Medieval times come to life with dirt and glory. Children work along side their mothers, ladies hold their noses against the smell of the tannery. There is a lovely vignette of an African boy panning for gold for the gilding process. Another scene shows children begging as workers troop by with printing supplies. The overall feel is active excitement as people work together to make this marvelous new thing.
It's an absolutely delightful book and a visual treat for anyone who loves art, books or a history. The writing is crisp and rhythmic, and is fun to read out loud. I enjoyed the way each new page spread answered a question from the previous page. It held the attention of my 5-8 year old audience, and the illustrations were great for prompting questions. But I think I liked it best.