Friday, October 24, 2014

A peak into The Story of Buildings

Happy Friday !

I am still working my way through the elementary/middle school nonfiction books that have been nominated for a Cybils award. I am currently at 27 done and 3 in progress out of 104. Eek. OTOH I am having a ton of fun reading about all sorts of different things.

For Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader I would like to introduce you to The Story of Buildings by Patrick Dillion, illustrated by Stephen Biesty ...

If you ever enjoyed David Macaulay's books like Pyramid, Cathedral or Underground, this should be right up your alley and a great gift for any children you know who are interested in architecture. (My son has been reading about Frank Lloyd Wright lately.)

Imagine you find yourself in a forest. Night is falling. You have to build a shelter. 

You gather sticks and stack them up to make a cabin, but the sticks keep toppling over. At last you learn how to tie them with vines to hold them upright, but when you crawl into the cabin, there's hardly any space inside. Logs don't keep out the rain either. It trickles between them and drips on your face. 

Maybe you find yourself in the mountains, so you decide to make a stone house. But though you gather all the stones you can find, you don't have anything to stick them together with. After hours of hard work, your house is just a heap of rocks. 

If you find yourself by a river, it's even worse: there's nothing to build with but mud. 

The illustrations are amazing !

(this one is from pages 36-37)

Above is Notre-Dame 

from pages 30-31
And this is the Hagia Sophia "The Parthenon was more beautiful on the outside than the inside. Hagia Sophia was the other way around. It was the interior, with its dome, windows, and mosaics, that took every visitor's breath away."

Speaking of illustrations, page 56 for The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice is an illustration of The Royal Abbey - Melk Abbey, Austria, 1702. 

Page 56 (sorry for the quality - I did this with my phone)
So on page 57 we start ...

Louis XIV of France had shown how a building could display the power of a king. Other European emperors and kings soon copied him, and baroque palaces appeared all over Europe, with twisting staircases and columns, and walls that curved in and out like rolling waves. Gilded plasterwork unfurled across ceilings. Precious marble glowed in the light of a thousand candles. Churches became more elaborate too. Some of the most splendid of all were built in the lands of the Austrian empire, where architects planned buildings that soared above the landscape, showing the power of emperor and church together. 

Most splendid of all was the monastery of Melk, which stood high on a cliff above the Danube River. 

The book goes from log cabins and stone houses through the Forbidden City to the Chrysler Building and the Pompidou Center in Paris. Cool stuff if you are interested.

I have run out of time, so no fiction book this week. Have a lovely weekend!


  1. Fascinating! I like the way the author begins with the earliest need for shelter and progresses to elaborate structures. Beautiful illustrations too.
    Best of luck with your reading project!
    My Friday post features Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind.

  2. Wow, this does look like a very intricate book, I would appreciate something like this since I love historical fiction and non-fiction; thanks for sharing this one!

    Here's mine:
    Sparrow’s BB & Friday 56

  3. How intersting that you posted about churches. I'm reading 'Pillars of the Earth' right now and I can see the principles of cathedrals that the book talks about in your drawings! Thanks for sharing.

    Here's my Friday 56:

  4. This sounds fascinating. THANKS for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

  5. Very detailed illustrations!
    Looks like a very interesting book indeed!
    Happy weekend!

  6. Amazing illustrations. I'm sure I would find it interesting. My Friday Quotes


Hi! I do read all of the comments and want to let you know that I really appreciate your stopping by and taking the time to leave a note. Work has fallen in on me and I have not had enough time to reply coherently lately so I apologize preemptively but still want to assure you that your comments are valued. I am using comment moderation to avoid using more annoying spam avoidance. Thanks for your patience.