FACES ON PLACES: About Gargoyles and Other Stone Creatures by Suzanne Haldane

FACES ON PLACES: About Gargoyles and Other Stone Creatures

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A flat-footed attempt to exploit the appeal of gargoyles to kids: part force-fed enthusiasm, a large part didactic, and in toto not suited to any particular age level--certainly not that of the picture-book audience which the format would suggest. Gargoyles, we're eagerly told, ""are a delight to discover""; overleaf we hear that ""the word 'gargoyle' is an Old French word meaning throat""; a few pages later, we start to learn--in wordy detail--how they're made (""With the limestone block in front of him and the plaster model beside him, the stone carver begins to transfer measurements from the model to the stone. He stretches open a pair of claw-like calipers. . .""); at the close come several pages of examples. Only here and there is anything conveyed that might be of particular interest to youngsters--like the fact that anyone who contributes $1,800 toward the building of the Washington Cathedral (the apparent inspiration for this) ""can have a gargoyle carved and dedicated to a family, a friend, or even a pet."" And we see, amusingly, a carving of a dentist drilling a giant tooth--as well as a gargoyle modeled after fierce-tempered master carver Roger Morigi. Otherwise, though, it's a colorless, flavorless, unimaginative affair--with photos of the same description.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1980
Publisher: Viking