Book review: Curious Constructions: A Peculiar Portfolio of Fifty Fascinating Structures, by Michael Hearst, illustrated by Matt Johnstone

Hearst, Michael. Curious Constructions: A Peculiar Portfolio of Fifty Fascinating Structures. (Series: Uncommon Compendiums). Ill. by Matt Johnstone. Chronicle, 2017. $19.99. 102p. ISBN 978-1-4521-4484-9. Ages 8-12. P8 Q7

From the expected, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Stonehenge in England, to the unusual, such as a cathedral termite mound over 13 feet tall, author and illustrator delight and educate in this collection of human- and animal-created buildings. Each two-page spread has a full-page illustration, accompanied by smaller drawings, maps, diagrams, and portraits as well as true/false questions, history, or quirky facts following a few paragraphs about the structure. Earlier books in the series are Extraordinary People and Unusual Creatures.

Verdict: Humor and simplicity made this accessible book a great one to dip into although the narrative is stronger than the visuals. It’s global perspective is a boon to broadening the perspectives of youth to the entire world.

May/June 2017 review by Nel Ward.


Book review: Sam and the Construction Site, by Tjibbe Veldkamp & Alice Hoogstad

Veldkamp, Tjibbe & Alice Hoogstad. Sam and the construction site. Lemniscaat, 2016. Unpaged. $17.95. ISBN 9781935954491. Ages 4-6. P8Q8

Veldkamp Sam and the Construction SiteFor small children fascinated with construction sites and machinery, this story of a small boy taunted by larger boys into going into a construction site on the dinner break will be fun.  Originally published in the Netherlands and translated into English, Sam’s story, while thrillingly told from the point of view of the big boys, really comes through in the pictures.  Astute children will pick up hints of what’s really going on  and will enjoy the surprise ending.  Recommended for preschool, kindergarten and early elementary library collections as well as for public libraries.

June 2016 review by Jane Cothron.