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Roberto, The Insect Architect Hardcover – September, 2000
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Young Roberto has a burning desire to become an architect. Even when the other termites mock his ambition, Roberto is never derailed from his dream. So, like so many career-minded youth, this mite with a mission sets off for the big, buggy city. Here, sadly, he is thwarted by his heroes, Hank Floyd Mite and Fleas Van Der Rohe. But this inspired insect decides not to wallow in his sorrows but to help out other bugs with even greater problems. Soon, a fantastic, eclectic housing development is in the works. The mysterious architect chooses to remain anonymous, but ultimately can't avoid the grateful adulation of the carpenter ants, ladybugs, and house flies he has helped.
Nina Laden's fantastic collages use old catalog and magazine images, blueprints, cork veneer, and lots more, to create buildings, cities, and buggy creatures the likes of which you've never seen. The Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts away from the Empire State Building, with Gaudi's quirky sculptural edifices looming nearby. Some of the hilarious wordplay may fly over the heads of non-architects, but the overall humorous effect--and the go-for-your-goals message--will not be lost on anyone. For more charming and artistic pun-ishment, try Laden's When Pigasso Met Mootisse. (Ages 6 to 11) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's something to be said for reading childrens' picture books every now and again. Childrens' authors can't get away with as much as adult authors can; for one thing, they generally have less room in which to get away with it (unless they are J. K. Rowling or Clive Barker, the vanguards of the burgeoning "childrens' doorstop" movement); for another, kids have an innate crap detector adults seem to get rid of as they get older. Reading chidlrens' books is a good way of grounding yourself, if you've gotten stuck in a rut of overly wordy stuff.
Roberto the Insect Architect is a fun one. (And note that a number of Amazon reviews of it have been posted by adults who own the book for themselves rather than their kids.) It's your basic "be yourself" kind of book, and reminds me in many ways of Randall Jarrell's brilliant The Bat-Poet. It's shorter, of course, being for a younger audience, and the points that are made are closer to the surface, but Laden still keeps things in hand by letting the story tell the story and giving visual cues that will make the reader of the intended age work (for example, Roberto's dream and its realization, which bookend the narrative in pictures instead of words). Worth reading for all ages. ****
The story is encouraging, and the wordplay witty but it's the fantastically funky collages that win you over. Laden uses all sorts of images... to create unreal insect edifaces. You'll find yourself staring at the quirky seussian architecture and chuckling at all the in-jokes.
A treat for the eyes and very fun!
Unfortunately, Robert's heroes, Hank Floyd Mite and Fleas van der Rohe, have no time to spare for an unknown architect, but Roberto remains undaunted, believing in himself. Soon he has designed a unique variety of dwellings, works of art that are also functional: the ladybug gets a fireproof home to keep her children safe, the carpenter ant a workshop for his projects, an abode for the house fly, even a habitable dwelling for the roaches. With perseverance and an inventive spirit, Roberto the Architect proves that anything is possible when there is determination and talent. Roberto achieves his goals and the world is better for it, all in a spirit of community. This clever story of creativity and inspiration, teaches a valuable lesson about believing in our dreams. Luan Gaines/2005.
From an early age, Roberto used wood not to satisfy his culinary palete, but rather to excite his creative muse and used it the way Leonardo Da Vinci used marble in his early years as an artist. He evneutally set his sights to the big city to become an architect.
At first, everyone turned him away, seeing him as a liability who’d eat the profits (in the literal sense) rather than build with them. Roberto was the kind of hard sell risk as would be a mouse (or rat…) in cheese shop, a dog working for a butcher, and of course, a termite working with wood in the contrscution biz.
Along the way, Roberto encounters various friends and neighbors who are homless for one reason or another, and decides to do something about it.
With his self-taught knowledge of architecture, Roberto designs and builds the homes and businesses to get those bugs off the streets and a second chance at a better life, and in the spirit of a “Secret Santa” does so anomyously.
It doesn’t take long before the city at large is buzzing with inritgue wondering who this mystery master archetict is.
When it’s discovered that Roberto’s the bug they’re looking for, the reader (and those read) are shown not only the importance of hard work and never giving up, but also how not to let doubt from others blindside you from your dreams.
Nina Laden’s agular and wonderfully quirkly illustrations, matched with concise and engaging text that sprinkles in fun wordplay throughout complete each other well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb art, good story too. I'm very picky about what I buy for my friends' kids as far as a book's message is concerned and this one is awesome. I bought one for myself as well.Published 3 months ago by Robert Hagstrom
I'm an architect, and gift this book at every baby shower I attend. Fun storyline and thoughtful illustrations.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am an architect and I love reading this book to my two young children. They think it's fun and I appreciate how clever it is!Published 10 months ago by Schwemma
To cute and all of the children have been thrilled with Roberto.Published 10 months ago by Sandra E. Salmen
This book has the most creative illustrations I've ever seen. It is so imaginative. What a delightful book.Published 23 months ago by cynandcraig
Very nice illustrations and a funny story with a good message. My kid liked it. Wish we'd bought it in paper edition.Published on July 17, 2014 by L. A. P. Badolato