David Macaulay

This week, let's look at books by master illustrator David Macaulay. Macaulay is best known for books that explain complex things—like buildings and bridges and bodies—in a simple, visual way.

Macaulay was born in England, but spent some of his teenage years in the United States, where he went to college. He trained as an architect, but never worked as one, instead trying his hand at interior design and teaching. His first book was Cathedral, followed by City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction, and Pyramid. He writes stories, too, such as Baaa (my personal favorite as a barnyard fellow), which tells how human beings vanished from the earth and are replaced by sheep who make the same mistakes.

Macaulay has said that the world would be a better place if everyone drew pictures because it would help them to learn to see things, and how things work, more clearly. Will one of these books change how you see the world?

Yours with snorts,

S. Will Burr signature

 

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The New Way Things Work
By Macaulay, David
With Ardley, Neil

Caldecott Medalist David Macaulay demystifies the digital age and steers readers successfully into the 21st century in this completely updated and expanded edition of his bestselling "The Way Things Work."

Publisher Comments
With more than 2.5 million copies sold worldwide, this award-winning, international bestseller has now been completely updated and expanded to include digital technology. This revised edition embraces the latest developments in everything from cars to watches.

In addition, an entirely new section guides you through the complicated world of digital machines, where masses of electronic information can be squeezed onto a single tiny microchip. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained - with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, wooly mammoth! Let the mammoth demystify the latest hi-tech machinery and lead you into the information age.

Book cover
The Way We Work:
Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body

By Macaulay, David
With Walker, Richard

BookPage Notable Title
In this comprehensive and entertaining resource, multi award-winner David Macaulay reveals the inner workings of the human body as only he can. This one-of-a-kind book takes readers on a visual journey through the human body. With his trademark humor, Macaulay builds a body and explains how it works.

Anatomy lessons
Review by Joanna Brichetto. Two body books in one gift roundup? Yes, because this reviewer could not be induced to ignore either one. The first, The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Human Body is by David Macaulay. This in itself is reason enough to run out and buy it. Macaulay is a master of bringing intricate structures to vivid life, and he is no less suited to expose the human body than the buildings and machines he is famous for. Peppy, brilliant and oh-so-fun, Macaulay's latest ensures that kids (and grown-ups) finally stand a darn good chance of understanding this stuff for real.

Book cover
Shortcut
By Macaulay, David
Illustrator Macaulay, David

CCBC Choices - 1995
The award-winning author of The Way Things Work and Black and White takes readers on a thought-provoking journey that exposes ordinary life as an intricate sequence of action and reaction. When Albert and his trusty mare, June, set off to market, a series of mysterious events turn into fun, interconnected stories.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
On his way to the market when Albert opts for the short cut, instead of the "long, long way," his simple acts of hanging his jacket on a post, hitching his horse June to a railroad switch, and cutting a rope that blocks his path, set off a chain reaction of events that spell disaster for others. A delightful cause-and-effect story is told in just 52 short sentences spread out over nine chapters and an epilogue. Most of the plot, however, unfolds in the pictures which require a careful reading in order to make sense of how and why things happen as they do. Honor Book, 1995 CCBC Caldecott Award Discussion (Ages 4-10)

Book cover
Rome Antics
By Macaulay, David

CCBC Choices - 1997
As readers follow the path of a pigeon carrying an important message through the streets of Rome, they discover a fascinating city that has been recycling itself for more than 2,000 years. This juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, as seen with Macaulay's ingenious vision, provides an imaginative and informative journey through this most wonderful of cities.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
David Macaulay's bird's-eye view of modern-day Rome follows the journey of a homing pigeon released by a woman in the hills outside Rome. The pigeon decides to take the scenic route on her way to deliver a message. As the pigeon travels, she flies over a city where ancient ruins, historic sites, and thoroughly modern life coexist. Macaulay reveals all three in his distinctive black-and-white drawings that fill the oversized pages. The pigeon's path through the city is marked by a bold red line that loops and curves, zips and arcs across the otherwise colorless pages. A droll narrative gives insight into what the pigeon is thinking ("She firmly resolves to stay on course, at least until she reaches this piazza") in addition to documenting her adventures and mishaps. This wholly original book includes information about the sites the pigeon sees: each building or ruin is labeled at the bottom of the full-page illustrations, and a brief description of each one is provided at the book's end. And as for the pigeon message? She delivers it at last, to an anxious man in Rome. It is one word: "Yes." (Ages 9-12)

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Building Big
By Macaulay, David
Illustrator Macaulay, David

CCBC Choices - 2001
In this companion book to the PBS series, the design and construction process of structures such as bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers, domes, and dams are explored. Macaulay shows that common sense and logic play just as important roles as imagination. Full-color illustrations.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
David Macaulay came to attention more than 25 years ago for his book Cathedral, in which he described in drawings and words how such a fictitious French cathedral might have been planned and constructed centuries ago. A succession of his books about architecture have interested children and adults alike. Macaulay created Building Big after working on a television series with the same title. Here he interprets the design problems and solutions for actual bridges, tunnels, dams, domes, and skyscrapers of the world: Chicago's John Hancock Building & Sears Tower, New York City's Empire State Building & World Trade Center, Hoover Dam, the current Big Dig in Boston, the U.S. Capitol, Istanbul's Hagia Sophia & Sehzade Mosque, the bridge across the Firth of Forth ( the channel linking England to France--and vice versa), and close to two dozen others. He didn't forget to include the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, where, with sly humor Macaulay suggests holding an international dome exposition sometime in the future. (Age 10 and older)

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Black and White
By Macaulay, David

CCBC Choices - 1990
Winner - 1991 Caldecott
"WARNING: This book appears to contain a number of stories that do not necessarily occur at the same time. Then again, it may contain only one story. In any event, careful inspection of both words and pictures is recommended". So warns the cover of Macaulay's truly unique book, Black and White, a playful and inventive fantasy from the author of the bestselling The Way Things Work.

Cooperative Children's Book Center Review
What is black and white and read all over... and over? One response might be this study of Holstein cows, an escaped convict, train stations, a toy train and railroad passengers. What at first seems to be four separate stories ("Seeing Things," "Problem Parents," "A Waiting Game," and "Udder Chaos") emerges as a multilayered whole as characters, designs and realities merge. A blizzard of words cannot be separated from the visual images it stimulates on the page. All is not black and white nor was it ever intended to be: the full-color art has several possible meanings. A striking jacket design and the 1930s details set the mood for an extraordinary puzzle which must be read again and pored over in order to capture its subtle, brilliant humor. (Ages 4-12)

Book cover
Castle
By Macaulay, David

The word itself conjures up mystery, romance, intrigue, and grandeur. What could be more perfect for an author/illustrator who has continually stripped away the mystique of architectural structures that have long fascinated modern man? With typical zest and wry sense of humor punctuating his drawings, David Macaulay traces the step-by-step planning and construction of both castle and town.

Publisher Comments
Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of David Macaulay's books. Whether chronicling the monumental achievements of past civilizations or satirizing modern architecture, he is concerned above all in how constructions are made and what their effects are on people and their lives.

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