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The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond

By: Patrick Dillon

Illustrator: Stephen Biesty

Chimneys, staircases, and glass windows transformed early buildings. Since, innovations have continued to inspire iconic architecture, including Notre Dame, the Taj Mahal, and the Chrysler Building. Index. Time line. Fold-out flaps. Full-color illustrations rendered in colored pencil.

ISBN: 9780763669904

JLG Release: Jun 2014


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Architecture , Construction , World history , Design , Homes , Famous buildings

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Nonfiction Middle

Grades 5-8

12 titles/year

$214.20/year

Awards & Honors

Amazon.com Best Books of the Year 2014, Nonfiction Children’s Books; The United States Board on Books for Young People, Outstanding International Books, 2015 Grades 6-8; Horn Book Fanfare List: Best Books of 2014, Nonfiction

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine*, The Horn Book Guide^, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal*

School Library Journal

[STARRED REVIEW]
Every building has a story to tell.” Beginning with the Egyptian pyramid of Djoser and progressing through the Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, and on to modern skyscrapers and Paris’s Pompidou Center, Dillon ties advances in architecture and building to specific cultural and economic conditions. In some c
[STARRED REVIEW]
Every building has a story to tell.” Beginning with the Egyptian pyramid of Djoser and progressing through the Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, and on to modern skyscrapers and Paris’s Pompidou Center, Dillon ties advances in architecture and building to specific cultural and economic conditions. In some cases, he credits the genius of individuals, such as Palladio. Each chapter begins with a historical overview and is followed by a description and illustration of a representative building. Clear explanations of basic building concepts (cantilevers, arches and domes, reinforced concrete) are balanced with discussions of more abstract principles such as symmetry, geometry, and pattern. But the volume is truly set apart by Biesty’s elaborate, meticulously detailed, and clearly labeled drawings (some stretching across two large-format pages plus two half-page fold-outs). Widely known for his 1992 Incredible Cross Sections, Biesty here adds a kaleidoscopic yet tightly integrated visual dimension that will transfix readers. The section on London’s Crystal Palace, designed by gardener Joseph Paxton and built for the Great Exhibition of 1851, is fascinating, outlining the modular design and rapid construction from 300,000 sheets of glass and 1,000 iron columns. Sections detailing Beijing’s Forbidden City, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Taj Mahal, and other buildings from outside the European tradition are worked deftly into the narrative.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA

Horn Book

[STARRED REVIEW]
Beginning with an ingratiatingly brief historical summary of how the human need for shelter brought us from caves to high-rises, Dillon and Biesty then circle back to provide more detailed attention to particular eras (Ancient Greece, seventeenth-century India), zooming in on one notable structure (the Parthenon, the Taj
[STARRED REVIEW]
Beginning with an ingratiatingly brief historical summary of how the human need for shelter brought us from caves to high-rises, Dillon and Biesty then circle back to provide more detailed attention to particular eras (Ancient Greece, seventeenth-century India), zooming in on one notable structure (the Parthenon, the Taj Mahal). A diverse selection of buildings are highlighted, from the Pyramid of Djoser through the Hagia Sophia through the Crystal Palace to the Pompidou Center, with most being given a splendid gatefold cross-section illustration. Working with colored pencil, Biesty uses a gentler line than in his hyperattentive Cross-Sections books, but there’s no loss of detail: you could, if so inclined, count the steps leading up to the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City. Each picture is thoroughly but unobtrusively annotated, and Dillon and Biesty use the verso of each gatefold page to explicate a feature germane to that building: an explanation of reinforced concrete for Gropius’s Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, for example. The main text has a nice narrative flow that links the buildings and eras together, and Dillon has a gift for evocation (“the columns and arches [of Notre-Dame] beat a rhythm that echoed around the worshippers like a great stone hymn”) as well as explanation (“Arches push outward onto the walls they stand on. To keep the walls from falling, engineers strengthen them with buttresses that push back in”). Read chronologically, the book provides a modest social and political account of (mostly) European history, but its absorbing pictures and spacious design invite you to start where you like. You’ll go back for more. An index and a timeline, fascinating in its own right, are appended. roger sutton

Book Details

ISBN

9780763669904

First Release

June 2014

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

720

Trim Size

9 3/4" x 11 5/16"

Page Count

96

Accelerated Reader

Level 7.4; Points: 4;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 9.5; Points: 8;

Lexile

Level 1060L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Candlewick

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Architecture, Construction, World history, Design, Homes, Famous buildings,

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