BUILDING ON NATURE by Rachel Rodríguez


The Life of Antoni Gaudí
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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Swarms of visitors each year descend upon Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s weird, wonderful church, La Sagrada Familia, under construction in Barcelona since 1883. Here, Rodríguez highlights the daring architect’s early love of nature and how that passion for organic forms was reflected throughout his career. The staccato, determinedly active-voice sentences range from clunky to lyrical, flowing best when describing architectural features: “At Casa Batlló, / a fireplace hides under a mushroom cap. / Hallways look like underwater caverns. / The house sparkles like the sea.” Paschkis captures the crazy curves and elaborate detail of Gaudí’s buildings—if not their context, scale and power—with her flat, folk-art–style gouache paintings and harvest palette, while graceful Art Nouveau borders harmoniously link art and text. Gaudí’s engineering feats, such as the underground chapel Colonia Crypt, are confusingly presented, and referencing Gaudí’s creations sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English (La Sagrada Familia is named only as “Holy Family Church,” for example) is a puzzling choice. Still, there’s plenty here to have young aesthetes hankering for a plane ticket to Spain. (author’s note, websites, selected bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-8745-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2009


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