A world tour of literal and figurative high spots in human construction, conducted by a feathered guide.
Pigeons are, as you know (now), great students of architecture. Here, expert Speck takes readers on a looping flight past more than two dozen structures, including roundup spreads of renowned skyscrapers and bridges. He offers enthusiastic exclamations (“Fully overawed!”) and occasional critical remarks—about, for instance, how Shah Jahan’s tomb unbalances the interior of the Taj Mahal. He also provides insights into how creative use of materials and design contribute to each structure’s purpose and emotional effect. Stops on the zigzag tour mix such usual suspects as the Great Pyramid at Giza, the Eiffel Tower and Fallingwater with Japan’s concrete Church of the Light, Le Corbusier’s Notre-Dame de Ronchamp, and the entire cities of Venice and Brasilia. Each gets a “pigeon name” as well as a human one (Canterbury Cathedral is “The Mish-Mash Marvel”) and is depicted in a collage illustration that mixes drawings and heavily processed photo fragments in arty ways. Mannered as they are, the distant views and inset close-ups do convey adequate senses of look and scale. An annotated pictorial index on the final spreads supplies further tidbits about the structures and their architects.
Airy but informative and sure to tempt young readers into taking closer looks at the buildings (and pigeons) around them. (Informational picture book. 9-11)