Sunday, October 25, 2009

What's Inside?

What's Inside?
by Giles Laroche
Houghton Mifflin, 2009
Review copy received from the publisher

This is the perfect book to invite children to think about both ancient and modern architecture.

On one page, there is a multi-media illustration of an architectural structure made with intricate bas-relief cut-paper collages. (Laroche says on the back flap that creating this book "was somewhat like building the actual structures themselves: Each illustration involved many stages of drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing, and often ended up with seven or eight layers.") The illustration of the structure is accompanied by a short, descriptive paragraph of text and the question, "What's Inside?" When you turn the page, there is another illustration, and another short, descriptive paragraph of text about what can be found (or was once found) inside the structure. For the reader who wants a little more information, there are factoids in the sidebar that tell the name of the structure, its location, the date of construction, its height, the materials used to make it, its status today and a little known fact.

The structures range from Egyptian tombs and Mayan temples, to Independence Hall and a Shaker barn, to the Sydney Opera House and the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia.

The final illustrations cleverly invite readers back into the book to make connections and to find architectural details in the structures.

An illustrated glossary of architectural terms is included.


  1. I love books like this! Thanks for the review. I hope our library has it.

  2. Thanks for reminding me of this one, I read it a while ago and loved it.

  3. Mary Lee,

    I really like this book. Giles spoke at an event sponsored by the Foundation for Children's Books at Boston College last spring. He brought some of his original artwork from the book. His cut-paper sculptures are gorgeous.


Comment moderation is turned on.