Architecture According to Pigeons By Speck Lee Tailfeather

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There are not many books around about architecture for children. I have a few that were printed pre-1960, but they tend to be a little dry. When I saw this publication come up in my searches I quickly bookmarked it, and I’m glad I did!

‘Architecture According to Pigeons’, is an excellent book for children interested in engineering, buildings or construction. It is also an outstanding introduction to the great buildings around the world. It starts with a pigeon called Peck who introduces himself before he takes the reader on a worldwide tour to see some of the greatest architectural sites. No book could cover every well-designed building in the world, but this one incorporates a wide selection from ancient ruins to ultra-modern skyscrapers.

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There are one or two pages dedicated to each building. Peck gives the reader a running narration of what the building is used for, who designed it, why it was built, some of its history, and a description. It is written in fun, inspiring prose without all the dry facts dominating the page in cute boxes and bullet points. I think back to my ancient art history lectures with a shudder – if only they were as inspiring as this book! Peck brings the information alive with his funny flight landings, and opinions about architecture- all from the pigeon’s perspective.

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The book covers the following buildings: Canterbury Cathedral, Eiffel Tower, Georges Pompidou Centre, Notre-Dame de Ronchamp, Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Venice and San Giorgio Maggiore, The Colosseum, different types of bridges, Great Pyramid of Giza, Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China, Church of the Light, Sydney Opera House, Brasilia in Brazil, Fallingwater, Chrysler Building, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. The last couple of pages has further information about each building.

My favourite pages were for the Church of Light in Japan. I have never heard of this building, but because of this book, I want to go there and see it for myself. It sounds breathtaking.

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The book is designed by Julia Hasting and Sandra Zellmer. The illustrations are by Natsko Seki.  The pictures dominate most of the page, while the text sits at the bottom. There are non-interfering speech bubbles on the pictures highlighting information. Natsko has created a realistic portrayal of the architectural sites using, pencil, ink, water colour and collage. Her style helps feed to the readers the most important aspects of the buildings.

I recommend this book for all ages, but middle school and higher would get the most out of it. It is hardcover, 64 pages, and large.

ISBN: 9780714863535
Published: Phaidon Press Ltd, GB, 2013

Purchase this book from…

Booktopia
Prices start from $20.35 + postage (Australian dollar)

Amazon.com
Prices start from $14.43 + postage (US dollar)

Abebooks.com
Prices start from $4.00 + postage (US dollar)

Book Depository
Prices start from $20.05 (AUS)

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