The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright by K. L. Going, and: The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter (review)
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Going, K. L. The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright; illus. by Lauren Stringer. Beach Lane, 2017 34p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4424-7821-3 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4424-7828-2 $10.99 R 5-8 yrs
Winter, Jeanette The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid; written and illus. by Jeanette Winter. Beach Lane, 2017 56p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4669-3 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4670-9 $10.99 R 5-8 yrs

Call it serendipity: the autumn publication cycle brings us back-to-back releases of picture-book biographies of visionary architects, whose childhood experiences drew them to look to the natural world for design inspiration but whose projects could hardly offer sharper contrast. In Going’s title, young Frank Lloyd Wright is encouraged by his mother to investigate shapes, and as he fingers the smooth wood of his building blocks, he comes to understand how shapes fit within shapes and, later, how that arrangement works in nature. When he became an architect, this perspective manifested in the angular cantilevers of domestic architecture nestling in wooded settings, in “towers as tall and thick as trees,” in windows that admitted the outside rather than walls that excluded it. Winter introduces Iraqi-born, British-educated Zaha Hadid—the first woman to be awarded architecture’s prestigious Pritzker Prize—who a century later would bring elements from nature (reed bundles, half-opened shells, waves, spiral galaxies) and drop their outsized iterations into sites throughout Asia and Europe. Winter and Stringer, whose illustrations reflect the designs of their subjects, share an approach that incorporates the architect’s imagination at play alongside actual buildings come to life, and such common motifs as shell and tree offer the child audience the opportunity to ponder how each designer’s vision is unique. Although neither work offers photographs of completed projects, both select buildings highlighted in the text for extra attention in thumbnail pictures and paragraphs in the end matter. Each also supplies a list of resources and closing author notes. Whether viewers favor the tidy lines and graceful flow of Wright’s work or the startling disruption of Hadid’s bold forms, this pairing should ignite interest in the built environment.

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