Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty won the Parent's Choice Silver Medal in 2007. Happily for me, I discovered it soon after when I was reviewing Paul Fleischman's superb quasi-graphic novel, The Dunderheads, illustrated by the absolutely amazing David Roberts, allowing me ample opportunity to read it at story time at the bookstore and at home! But, before I rave on about Roberts's illustrations, I have to tell you what a marvelous book Beaty has written. It is both funny and poignant at turns, and very endearing. However, what amazes me above all else is Andrea Beaty's way with a rhyme. You may not realize it until you have been reading picture books out loud for over a decade or two, but the well written rhyming picture book is a RARE thing - especially if you don't take the Seussian way out and make up your own words. Iggy Peck, Architect stands out in this category, along with Chris Van Dusen's brilliant and beautiful The Circus Ship, which made my Best Picture Books of 2009 list. This is how Beaty's wonderful book begins...
Young Iggy Peck is an architect
and has been since he was two,
when he built a great tower - in only an hour -
with nothing but diapers and glue
"Good Gracious, Ignacious!" his mother exclaimed.
"That's the coolest thing I've ever seen!"
But her smile faded fast as a light wind blew past
and she realized those diapers weren't clean!
The narrator goes on to tell the story of Iggy's ups and downs, all amplified by Roberts' fabulous patterns and prints and angular illustration style that lends itself perfectly to a story of this nature.
His parents adapt to Iggy's passion, but, he has the misfortune of having a second grade teacher who does not appreciate his architectural explorations due to a traumatic childhood experience involving a circus troop, clowns and a broken down elevator (Beaty's imagination is a marvelous as her ability to rhyme).
It bears noting here that Roberts is a master at subtly integrating the classrooms of all his picture books, as you can see above. As Iggy's story and strife unfolds, he has the chance to prove himself and redeem architecture in the eyes of his teacher during a school field trip that involves a broken foot bridge, an unconscious teacher and some serious ingenuity.
Whether you like architecture or not, Iggy Peck, Architect is just a fun, fun book to read out loud and look at. If you and your kids are interested in architecture and architects, scroll down for more great books!
Don't miss the long awaited, completely amazing companion to Iggy Peck, Architect...
More great picture books with architectural themes!
The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale
(Yep, that's Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright and Phillip Johnson as the three little pigs setting out to build their houses!)
Source: Review Copy