Hale turns her educated eye to modern and contemporary architecture and produces a book that is at once groundbreaking, child-friendly and marvelously inclusive.
With a celebratory tone, Hale cleverly structures this unusual picture book by matching a series of lively concrete poems and vignettes of young children at play (creating simple structures of all types) with carefully selected photos of complementary, emblematic 20th- and 21st-century structures. Mud pies are compared to Hassan Fathy’s all-earthen New Gourna Village (Luxor, Egypt); beachfront sand castles to Antoni Gaudí’s soaring La Sagrada Família Basilica (Barcelona, Spain); busy LEGO® projects with Moshe Safdie’s modular Habitat 67 housing (Montréal, Québec); cardboard-tube models to Shigeru Ban’s amazing Paper Tube School (Sichuan Provence, China); tongue-depressor/Popsicle-stick and white-glue crafts with the vertical slats of David Adjaye’s Sclera Pavilion (London, England); and the “soft forms / tumble making / ever-changing / caverns, secret spaces” of pillow forts with Frank Gehry’s curvilinear Guggenheim (Bilbao, Spain). Well-organized and accessible backmatter contains the photo, name and location of each of the 15 highlighted structures, a brief biography of and a telling quote from each structure’s architect, and Hale’s own portrait of each designer.
This extraordinary new picture book masterfully tackles the complex task of contextualizing seemingly complex architectural concepts within a child’s own world of play. (Informational picture book/poetry. 2-8)