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From the Baby 101 series

by Jonathan Litton ; illustrated by Thomas Elliott

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-525-64880-2
Publisher: Doubleday

Think architecture isn’t for little ones? This informational board book distills architectural concepts into manageable pieces.

Throughout this well-organized text, short sentences clearly define various architectural terms, informing readers that “an architect plans a building.” Topics include architectural history, with illustrations of an early hut, the Egyptian pyramids, and the Colosseum; varieties of construction materials; and different architectural styles. Art and words smoothly blend to make information accessible but without talking down to child readers; a page with the text “Some buildings are made of stone” has a small image of interlocking stones above a medieval castle so readers can visualize how they form a wall. Larger, bolder type nicely emphasizes building-related words. The narrative collapses slightly when naming “classical” and “modern” styles along with a single example (the Taj Mahal for the former and the Sydney Opera House for the latter); it’s dubious if it will be enough information to be conceptually meaningful. Pleasant cartoon art in cheery colors and the technically precise buildings will draw readers, especially a single portrait-oriented page that captures the “fairy tale” ornateness of St. Basil’s Cathedral. The book ends with two children of color (all the humans are racially diverse) creating a blueprint for a block tower, followed by a sturdy flap revealing the towering structure, bringing it all back to a child’s level.

Architecture really is for kids! This is a surprisingly informative and accessible concept book.

(Board book. 2-4)