Review of the Week

Dreaming UpHale, Christy.  Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building. Christy Hale, Illus. Non-fic.  Lee & Low, 2012. [40]p. $18.95.  978-1-60060-651-9.  HIGH ADDITIONAL.  GRADES TODDLER-4

Rhyming concrete poetry combines with illustrations and photographs to create a book about construction, buildings, and architecture with appeal to a wide range of young people. Clean, crisp, and charming mixed-media illustrations depict a multicultural cast of children at play building common structures, like a pillow fort, a sand castle, and a house of cards. On each two-page spread, these images are juxtaposed with photographs of buildings or computer-generated simulations of actual buildings that reflect the children’s structures. The well-executed poetry is at once lyrical and explanatory, playful and practical. The rhyme scheme and meter of the concrete poetry differ on each spread, matching the shape and style of the structure being highlighted. Younger kids and toddlers will delight in the playfulness of the words and in recognizing stacking cups and familiar activities, while older elementary school age children will be able to appreciate the attention to detail of the poetry and images. The unique format provides ample material for readers to learn from and explore in depth. Likely to inspire several classroom, library, or home art and/or engineering projects, Dreaming Up is true to its name. Rich back matter includes architects’ biographies, portraits, quotations, and building photos as well as extensive author’s sources.
Meredith Steiner, Independent

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