Customer Reviews: Iggy Peck, Architect
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on March 25, 2011
As an elementary art teacher, I am always looking for fun, educational books I can use in the classroom. This is by far one of the best books I've ever read! Most of my 4th and 5th grade students hate reading or listening to stories. This week I showed them the book and asked if they were interested in reading it with me. At first, only 2 or 3 students out of every class raised their hands. I asked them if I could read just one page... if they didn't like it, I agreed not to read the rest. After reading the first page, the entire class laughed and begged me to read more! I was so excited so share this book with them, and even more excited that they wanted to read. The students liked it so much they took turns reading it independently and asked where they could purchase a copy. This book is a great way to get students interested in reading... and architecture!

After reading this book, my students couldn't wait to learn more about famous architects and buildings. They are really excited about becoming little architects themselves over the next few weeks!

I can't even begin to thank Andrea Beaty and David Roberts for this amazing book! It's clever, funny, and educational, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. I teach 700 students a week, kindergarten through 5th, and this book was a huge hit will everyone! I definitely recommend this book to children and adults alike!
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You are a children's librarian. Your job is simple. People ask you for books. You find books. People ask you for movies. You find movies. It's all pretty basic, really. You get requests from teachers too, once in a while. "Oh, we're doing a unit on tadpoles." "What have you got in the way of circus titles?" And, most dreaded of all, "We're doing a community workers unit". In my particular library system, once a year the teachers will ask for books regarding different occupations you might find in the community. Firemen, and police workers, and vets. All that good stuff. Of course, sometimes the kids want books that talk about what their parents do. And if you work in a library located in the heart of New York City, there's a pretty good chance that that's gonna mean one very special job: Architects. Now go and name me all the picture book architectural stories you can think of. Go on! I'll wait here until you're ready. Thought of a whole bunch? No? Thought of a few? Thought of one? Well, obviously you thought of one since you know what this review was of from the start. Yes, "Iggy Peck, Architect", is (as far as my limited experience informs me) one of the very few books out there dealing with a kid who is fated to follow a path of structural bliss.

It was pretty clear right from the start that Iggy Peck wasn't your normal toddler. No, by age two he'd discovered how to construct towers out of diapers (interesting, if not particularly sanitary). By three he used fruit to create his constructions, and by the time he hit the second grade he was getting more and more creative. That's when he got into Ms. Greer's class. Ms. Greer had once suffered an unfortunate incident in a very tall building, and the result is that she felt from there on in that, "all building-lovers were nuts." Forbidden to build, Iggy's spirit is crushed. That is, until the day the class is trapped on a small island with little hope of escape. Little hope, that is, until Iggy's skills prove useful when it comes to escape.

Of course I can already see the wild glint in the eyes of the parents who will hope against hope that by buying this book they will be able to coerce their own little Johnny or Jill into wanting to be an architect someday too. You can't hardly blame `em, neither. I mean, the combined efforts of author Andrea Beaty and illustrator David Roberts make this particular occupation look remarkably cool. Roberts bears much of the credit for this, I'll wager. His style appears to be nothing so much as Gerald McBoing Boing meets Frank Lloyd Wright. And I will wager good money that Mr. Roberts has probably flown under your radar until now. At this point in time he was probably best known for his Cinderella: An Art Deco Love Story, which gives you a fairly good sense of his tastes and styles. In "Iggy Peck", Roberts has channeled the style of the late 50s, early 60s instead. Iggy is a chipper soul with a thick patch of hair that flies straight out from the top of his head like a plane from a landing strip. The women in his life, that being his mother and his teacher Miss Lila Greer, sport some remarkable up-dos of their own. That alongside their natty sweaters, single print dresses, and high-button shoes, gives the book a kind of grounding in the history of American design. Fortunately for us, Roberts has not traveled so far back that he has failed to create a nicely multi-ethnic classroom. And might I say, much of the fun for grown-ups reading this book centers on getting to watch the clothes and shoes of the other kids in Iggy's class. Hairstyles too.

Roberts makes use of watercolors, pen and ink (on Arches paper, no less), and a whole smattering of graph paper as well. I was initially going to say that he did a lot of mixed media, but on closer inspection I see that this is not the case. Roberts only gives the impression of mixed media (no small feat) and his use of color and form is fabulous. When we see a younger Miss Greer staring down from the ninety-fifth floor of her building (we know it's the ninety-fifth floor since the elevator says that the elevator is on the 3rd to the 6th power floor), she's the only bright yellow spot visible against a gray, lifeless landscape. Also, due to the fact that the author is asking Mr. Roberts to construct a suspension bridge out of "boots, tree roots and strings, fruit roll-ups and things", as well as castles from chalk, bridges out of pancakes, and even chapels from apples, I'd say that he does a pretty good job. Heck, the book even turns the words on the page into wavy smell lines when the plot calls for such a thing. How's that for dedication?

The story we find here is entirely reliant on liking your protagonist and appreciating his struggle. And you do like Iggy. Iggy's a pretty cool dude. A little too focused on a single all-consuming passion, maybe, but at least he knows what he likes. Ms. Andrea Beatty offers enough details here to get kids interested in not only Iggy's trials but that of his young teacher as well. The defining moment in Miss Greer's life, when she was trapped in an elevator with a French circus troupe, is sufficiently horrific to make anyone understand her dislike of tall buildings. The fact that the book is written in verse is a tough one though. If you're going to walk that line then you need to be just as careful as possible when it comes to scansion. So it is that lines like this sometimes had to give me pause: " `We're trapped here! Oh my! Alas, kids, good-bye!' / Her eyeballs rolled back in her head. / She dropped to the ground with a vague groaning sound. / (Luckily fainted - not dead)." I mean, you can make it work if you give a brief pause before the word "luckily", but anyone reading this book aloud is going to have to read it through a couple times before trying it out on the kids.

All that said, it's a treat. Original and enjoyable and lots of fun to read. And hey, if you want to use it to convince the youth of America that architecture is a fun and interesting occupation, by all means go ahead.
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on October 15, 2007
Hands-down one of the best picture books of 2007, IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT, has it all -- ingenious storyline, clever text, spectacular illustrations -- resulting in a hilarious read-aloud for kids and grown-ups alike. Don't miss this one!
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on December 19, 2011
I have read it to the kids at my daughter's kindergarten class, and loved it so much I had to have it at our house too.
Iggy Peck is no regular toddler. This one makes towers out of diapers, cathedrals out of apples and a chateau of chalk. inquisitive and bright Iggy delights everyone with his unusual interest and talent, accept for his 2nd grade teacher - Miss Lila Greer. Unfortunately for Iggy, Miss lila suffers from a architecture phobia, inflicted on her in an early age when she was lost on a tour to a sky scraper, and found only two days later, in an elevator, with a french circus troup. Miss Lila declares that buildings have no place in second grade, sentencing Iggy to feel bored and unappreciated...
But a day comes - and Miss Lila Greer will need his talent, and learn to love and appreciate it. I was thrilled to find this book at our school, and I wish more classroom had this book, and more teachers read and understood it's message.

This funny, intelligent story will be as much fun for you to read as for your children to hear. It is a "not too long, not too short, perfect for a bed time story" kind of book, that my kids cannot get enough of.
Accompanied by wonderful illustrations, it is one of the most beautiful picture books I have seen.
I recommend it to anyone who has kids in ages between 4 and 8.
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on August 8, 2009
We loved this book! We heard it at a local story hour. Afterwards, we went out and purchased some graph paper. The kids went to town designing their own buildings and pretending to be architects like Iggy Peck. We HIGHLY recommend this book. Not only does it spark the imagination, but it is very humorous. The part about Iggy building a tower out of diapers and glue made my kids roll around on the floor laughing!
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on December 14, 2015
Great book about a little boy and his natural talent for architecture. I've only seen this book in boutiques and rightfully so; the art is adorable and the storyline is linear and easy to relate to. My 1 year old daughter doesn't understand the story line but will fall asleep the rhyming rhythm of the book, as all the verses in this book rhyme. This would make a great present for anyone ages of 4 to 9.
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on April 17, 2012
Iggy Peck is an architect and has been since he was two... A great story, beautifully illustrated, that keeps our son engrossed since he was just over 1 year old. Its a fun read for adults, so you will not get bored on the 200th reading...
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on December 15, 2013
Wow - These illustrations are out of this world amazing! As an adult, I could enjoy looking through this book over and over again. The story itself is interesting, but there are some subtleties that are important to the story - but easy to gloss over. And why, of all things, would a story hinge on making things out of dirty diapers? My personal opinion, but that element could have been done better. Even my kids didn't think it was that funny.
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on January 7, 2012
The book is uniquely artistic. The graphic designer in me appreciates the illustrations and typography every time I read it. The rhyming story is a whimsical tale of Iggy, who from a young age, like to build things. It's a fun book to read (and reread, and reread, and reread...) with the lesson being to follow your passions. (personal note-If we all did that, we might even end up with "jobs" we love).
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on February 29, 2016
I love this book so much. It's a great story, in a fun-to-read rhyme scheme, with absolutely fantastic illustrations. I'd recommend it to anybody who is reading aloud to a kid, and would recommend the author and illustrator's other book, Rosie Revere: Engineer, even more strongly. These are must-haves for your kid's library!
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