CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 30 . . . . April 10, 2015
These four titles in Crabtree’s “Young Architect” series introduce young readers to other types of architectural dwellings, including those of the past and of the future. The inclusion of a book on animal homes depicts animals as architects, too. Children of all ages enjoy building and constructing, and this series broadens their understanding of the variety of structures in the world and introduces the concepts and language of architecture.
The attractive format of each book includes large text, colourful photographs, cartoon-like illustrations and black and white hand-drawn diagrams. The content of each book introduces the reader to the components of architecture. Architectural terms are presented in different ways, such as text box inserts entitled “Architect’s words”, by bolded text that connects with a glossary entry and labelled pictures and diagrams. The concepts of design, materials, tools, technology and construction are included, thereby providing the audience with an awareness of the components and complexity of architecture. The inclusion of a list of print and on line resources extends the learning experience, particularly for older readers. Both the suggested book titles and the websites provide not only additional architectural photographs, but they also pose questions that pique the reader’s curiosity to explore the topic further. Each book includes an optional activity which invites the young architect to plan, design and create a structure.
In Animal Homes, readers become aware of animal architects and engineers. Children will be fascinated by the amazing designs, from beaver dams to termite mounds, and by how these animals construct their creations.
Ancient Homes explores the architect of the past. The factors that effect design become evident in examining the structures of the past. The importance of the selection of location and materials becomes evident to the reader. Young architects will marvel at the remarkable water engineering of aqueducts and public baths and be surprised at the technology used in building the pyramids and the under floor heating systems of Ancient Rome.
Children love to think about life in the future. In Futuristic Homes, they are introduced to what architects today are considering and creating with the future in mind. Again, with the inclusion of architectural terminology and design, readers become aware of how architecture can bridge fantasy to a creative reality.
In Green Homes, the focus is on sustainable homes designed to protect the Earth’s environment. The text and visuals explore the use of natural materials and recycled materials, alternate sources of energy and eco friendly designs.
There is a challenge in creating a book for young readers on a topic that includes complex concepts and language. and the subject of architecture is such a topic.
The “Young Architecture” series provides attractive books, covering an interesting variety of building styles, to introduce its audience to the art and science of designing and constructing structures – architecture. The inclusion of features such as “Architect’s notebook”, hand-drawn diagrams and “Architect’s notes” helps the reader focus on the text and the concepts rather than just on the photographs of different structures. Some children will need support as the reading level of the text, due to the complexity of the topic and the vocabulary, is challenging for younger or struggling readers. Older readers might consider the style of cartooning too young, but their attention can be drawn to the fact that this simple style helps illustrate complex ideas. These titles provide a good springboard into the topic of architecture.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.