Books by Albert Lorenz

THE TROJAN HORSE by Albert Lorenz
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

Lorenz largely leaves behind the intricately wrought landscapes and structures of his earlier works for this comic strip-style retelling of the siege of Troy. With a panel of gods, rendered as stone busts, commenting above ("Hey, where did that horse come from?") and a diminutive Greek chorus cheerily gesticulating below, heroes on both sides of the conflict crowd beneath Troy's towering walls, dying bloodlessly around inset bits of text and dialogue balloons until at last the monumental wooden horse is built. Here, Lorenz goes all out, crafting two full-page cutaway views with every strut, nail—even a loo—plainly visible. And the Greeks leave behind a city in flames. Breezy in tone and with historical detail either sketchy or, in the case of endpaper maps that will be partially covered by the jacket flaps, poorly presented, this works neither as a vehicle for conveying archeological information nor an evocative retelling of the ancient epic. Marcia Williams uses a similar graphic format to better effect in her Iliad and the Odyssey (1996). (author's note) (Fantasy. 10-12)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

With a perfunctory plotline, but careful attention to visual detail, the authors take a downriver journey with a prehistoric trading expedition, from the site of present-day Detroit to the bustling Mississippi metropolis that was, until the 19th century, North America's largest. Young Little Hawk happily joins his father Red Earth, canoeing past long, mysterious mounds, evading raiders, listening to stories, arriving at last at Cahokia (a modern name, though Little Hawk uses it), where he witnesses a game of lacrosse (ditto) and a ceremony on the massive earth pyramid before packing up for the return trip. Lorenz and Schleh mix color photos of surviving artifacts with painted scenes of smiling, buckskin-clad people (the men sporting elaborate tattoos and 'do's), pulling back for an expanded view of the city's entire layout as it has been reconstructed by archaeologists, and tracing Little Hawk's trip on a map. Inspired by an exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, this makes an absorbing cultural, if not literary, journey. (afterword, bibliography) (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

A "Jack" for budding engineers and architects; positing that the giant's coins, hen and harp are also outsized, Lorenz has the intrepid young thief devise sets of wheels and pulleys from buttons, pins, and string to haul his prizes out of the castle. And what a castle it is—hung about with skills and medieval fittings, viewed in luxuriant, exact detail from multiple perspectives and angles. Children will pore over each outsized spread (and skip Lorenz's long-winded concluding statement) as they cheer Jack's victory over not only the towering, snaggle-toothed giant, but a tiger-sized cat, malevolent-looking rats, and other adversaries. The telling combines several versions into a conventional whole, but Jack's courage and mechanical ingenuity have never been shown to better advantage. (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

Lorenz and Schleh (House, 1998, etc.) have wonderfully imagined 14 places or structures made famous by myth and legend, offering wry commentary and myriad details to pore over. This book literally starts at the beginning, covering the Garden of Eden, the Ark, and the Tower of Babel; Lorenz and Schleh travel with Odysseus around the Aegean and with Robin Hood and his men through Sherwood Forest, wreak havoc with Genghis Khan, and foster menace with Dracula. Each locale is given a page-long introduction, before a gatefold page reveals an outsized illustration elegantly crammed with detail, incident, and witticisms (so much so that a magnifying glass has been included). The utterly transporting artwork is a marvel of color and visual narrative, with plenty of humor (Noah's ark comes equipped with methane vents), quietly biting commentary (the page of the Ark is bordered by drawings of endangered species), and quests that readers can embark on within the illustrations. Within these pages are funny details for the Where's Waldo? set, with a sophisticated comedic embrace for older children, and some set pieces, dry as tinder, that will spark laughter in onlooking adults. (Picture book. 7+) Read full book review >
HOUSE by Albert Lorenz
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

This handsome book, subtitled "Showing How People Have Lived Throughout History with Examples Drawn from the Lives of Legendary Men and Women," comes in the wake of Lorenz's Metropolis (1996) and is just as meticulously crafted. A welter of details appears on every spread, yet there is always open space, a crisp, incisive text, and visual and verbal humor to keep things afloat. Lorenz gathers under his roof any structure that has been lived in for some time, so along with the expected domiciles—city apartment, serf's cabin, Versailles, Giverny, Monticello, and such—he scatters monastic cells, the Trojan Horse, a slaving vessel, the space station Mir, and the human womb. He lightly covers the evolution of design and also introduces historic characters and their famous abodes, e.g., Sherlock Holmes's Baker Street residence. There are moments when the book resembles a cabinet of curiosities, when a lapse of narrative warmth fails to invest the discussion of dwellings with any soul. However, the artwork is deeply satisfying and the throng of informational tidbits keeps readers turning the pages, to savor slowly or devour in one sitting. (Picture book. 7-12) Read full book review >
METROPOLIS by Albert Lorenz
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

A full-color time-traveling tour through ten cities. Lorenz recreates all the bustle and detail of 16th-century Florence, 17th- century Osaka, 18th-century Vienna, and 20th-century New York with an architect's eye for accuracy and elegance. His lavish spreads capture the main subject, e.g., the magnificence of a cathedral's interior, while close-up drawings on following pages focus on such details as gargoyles, a rose window, and stone sculpture, aptly showing how the parts form the whole. Most importantly, Lorenz conveys an architect's sense of how his subject ties into its surrounding environment on a human scale: The major drawings are framed by smaller illustrations commemorating battles fought and lost, the effects of disease, and facts on everyday economics. Those who relish the whimsy of Stephen Biesty's books may have to go elsewhere, for Lorenz relays a sober and accurate feeling of history and place. Others will find such sights as the aerial perspective of modern Manhattan—a dramatic view stretching from the edge of Central Park to the tops of the World Trade Center- -simply unforgettable. (Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, History Book Club, Children's Book-of-the-Month Club) (Nonfiction. 8+) Read full book review >