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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building
by Christy Hale

Every once in a while, I come across a book I wish I had written. Not because I have any bloated impressions of myself, but because the concept rang in my head at some point and found no viable outlet for expressing itself as beautifully as rendered in the book I am holding.

Combining poetry and famous architectural structures from around the world, along with children's everyday play things, the author-illustrator Christy Hale has given us a book that is deceptively simple, yet profoundly gratifying.

On the left-hand page, we see an illustration of kids stacking up their nesting cups. On the right we see the photograph of Petronas Twin Towers. The parallels between the children's play and the imposing structure, the tallest twin-buildings in the world, is deliberate and striking. And the rhyming words accompanying it is arranged in stacked order to mimic the structure: "Cup on cup, stacking up, Smaller, smaller, growing taller."

The book is full of such pairings of children's play and large-scale structures, and they are not limited to steel and concrete. On the one hand, we see a little girl making circular mud pies; opposite page shows a photo of an earthen New Gourna Village in Egypt; the note tells us how this village combines natural elements earth, water, sun, air, with traditional design to create a sustainable unique entity. Especially matched were the mud pies by the children and the roof of the mosque with cooling domes.

And, furthermore, we see kids constructing with recyclable materials, paired with the The Paper Tube School in China.

Back of the book has notes on the various real-world structures presented in the book, with the architect and location information.

All in all, a brilliant book that both the 5 yo and 8 yo loved as much as their Mama gushed about it.

[Look inside the book at Author's website]

[image source:]

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