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.

Advertisements

Book review: Extraordinary People: A Semi-comprehensive Guide to Some of the World’s Most Fascinating Individuals, by Michael Hearst, illustrated by Aaron Scamihorn

Hearst, Michael. Extraordinary People: A Semi-comprehensive Guide to Some of the World’s Most Fascinating Individuals. illus. Aaron Scamihorn. Chronicle Books, 2015. 110 pgs. $16.99. ISBN:978-1-4521-2709-5. Gr. 5+. P8 Q8

Hearst Extraordinary PeopleFifty-two people, men and women who, throughout history, have done extraordinary things, were chosen to be in this book. Scientists, explorers, athletes and even pirates were a few of the occupations that were highlighted. The illustrations are appropriate for the time in which the men and women lived. While there is a full page of information about each person, it would be considered a starting point for someone who is doing research. You would have to go to other sources for more in-depth information. I was glad to see that some of the people who were chosen for the book were ones that I knew nothing about. Something else that I liked about the book, is that they were also not presented in chronological order or by occupation.

November 2015 review by Carol Bernardi.