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Mosque by David Macaulay
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This is a fictional story about the construction of a mosque, based on true facts and a famous architect. In the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic religion was very important. Faith drove the crew to build the structure with precision.

I like how the book includes a glossary of unfamiliar terms. I also enjoyed the detailed illustrations. I like how the author explains the construction of the buildings and the reasoning behind it.

In the classroom, I could have my students build their own structures out of popsicle sticks. I would also take the time to explore Islamic culture after reading this book aloud. We could discuss the differences and similarities to American culture, as a class.
  MissJordanMae | Oct 24, 2010 |
Beautifully illustrated book about architecture and religion. It gives a positive view of the Islamic religion such as charity, one cannot bequeath their entire fortune to their family. It is a fictitous story about the building of a mosque but it is based on fact. The mosque in the story though fictional is based on the work of famous architect Sinan, who plays a character in the story. It is also a great introduction to architecture, mathematics, and physics which is important in building a structure that will withstand the force of earthquakes. The location of the story is Turkey which is an area prone to earthquakes.
  anncampbell | Oct 23, 2009 |
Richie's Picks: MOSQUE by David Macaulay, Houghton Mifflin, October 2003, ISBN 0-618-24034-9

I had with me a copper tubing cutter, steel wool, a cylindrical metal polishing brush, a pair of channel locks, paste flux and flux brush, 60/40 solder, a large acetylene torch, a spark striker, hammer, nails, rag, folding ruler, pencils, a floorplan notating where the baseboard was to be installed, a trispeed drill kit, a Sawall, a large stack of boxed baseboard sections, a small portable radio, lengths of tubing, and an old cardboard box filled with fittings--elbows, street ells, couplings, slip couplings, and forty-fives.

Room by room I would move in and unpack the boxed baseboard sections, separating the fronts and the elements from the backings. Utilizing the floorplan, ruler, and a template, I would locate where to drill down through the new, unfinished oak flooring and the subflooring into the basement. After drilling the holes for the risers, I would determine the stud pattern behind the sheetrock in order to attach the baseboard backings to the walls, slipping in corner plates where necessary. Measuring and cutting and polishing and fluxing and assembling and striking and holding the flame so that the tip of the blue would just touch the fitting, I would make the connections permanent. The trick was to heat slightly up from where you would be applying the solder so that the melted combination of metals would be drawn far up between the fitting and the tubing.

Working room by room, fed by the rhythm of the AM radio station--that was how I spent many a Saturday and much of my summer vacations as a child in the mid-Sixties. After completing the work upstairs, I would descend to the basement and climb a stepladder to connect the bottoms of the risers with tubing and fittings and strapping so as to create the circuit of copper pipe and baseboard that would later be attached to the oil-fired furnace. Decades later those furnaces continue to pump hot water through my handiwork, heating people's houses on snowy, suburban nights.

Those days remain a highlight of my life--that youthful, delighted feeling of competence, that knowing that my tangible work would be part of some family's life for years to come. I'd contentedly snooze in the cab of Dad's pickup on the ride back home.

Last fall when I returned to Long Island for my thirtieth high school reunion, I spent a day capturing digital images of my childhood haunts. It was with great emotion that I snapped photos of several of those modest, aging "Geri-Kay Custom Homes" that I'd had a hand in constructing so long ago.

When I take such pleasure in reading about Paul Edward Logan's accomplished woodworking skills in THE LAND, when I become so attached to Alex and Morris Rose's old house and unique towers in THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE, and when I delight in telling middle school audiences about Duncan's toilet-stealing scene in ACCELERATION, it is within the context of those beloved childhood memories: Days breathing sawdust and trying to keep my hands warm through a gray autumn Saturday as I did a man's work and created something lasting.

Thus, I can imagine being one of Huseyin Bey's nine sons. Huseyin is hired to serve as the superintendent of building for the fictitious, late-1500s construction feat that is chronicled in David Macaulay's MOSQUE. To read David's dedication, "For my children and their children's children" is to get but an inkling of the temporal scale we must learn to think in when discussing the subject matter. This is a book which can quite handily serve as the front step for a comprehensive study of the Islamic religion, or of the Ottoman empire, or of what is going on today. And while the impeccable work of David Macaulay is no secret to any of us, this focus on the magnificent vision, the mathematical beauty, and detailed craftsmanship inherent in these structures sacred to a large part of the world, is a wonderful way to begin educating children (and their parents) about that which most of the West is so ignorant. (I am sad to say that as I read MOSQUE during half-time at a freshman basketball game yesterday, someone's parent leaned over and muttered, "Yeah, mosques, that's where they hide the weapons of mass destruction.")

Throughout the book we're treated to those illustrations for which David Macaulay is so well known and loved: from large overviews of the overall project as it rises from the ground, down to detailed views of creating stained glass windows, bricks, forged iron grilles, perfectly rounded arches, and the Muezzins' balcony.

The what?

Yes, that's another great thing about MOSQUE. We are provided with a whole series of new "languages," involving architecture and the Islamic culture. And not only do we see how the project is laid out so that the worshippers are facing Mecca when they pray, but we also get to see the balconies, the bakeries, the bathrooms and the bath house.

Not a picture book for little kids, MOSQUE is an entertaining and info-packed illustrated introduction to a world different from our own--temporally, geographically, and culturally--which we learn is not all so different as some would want us to think.

Richie Partington
BudNotBuddy@aol.com ( )
  richiespicks | May 24, 2009 |
David Macaulay's Mosque tells the story of a fictionalized mosque being constructed during the latter part of the Ottoman Empire. The book shines because it is not strictly dry historical information taken from encyclopedias or academic books; Macaulay manages to engage his young readers by providing the details of the mosque-building project and the people who were involved with its construction.

Macaulay's intricate illustrations definitely draw the reader in because of their complexity. There are large illustrations that depict the construction site from a bird's eye view. Macaulay uses these high-angle shots to show his readers that building a mosque was not comprised of building only one structure. Besides the mosque itself, the building plan included a turbe (a tomb), a medrese (a school), an imaret (a soup kitchen), a hamam (a public bath), and a cesme (a public fountain). in addition to these larger illustrations, there are small drawings of a process, such as making a brick out of sand and clay. These varied illustrations illuminate the story that Macaulay so clearly describes in the text of this book.

This would be a great book to give to readers interested in construction or buildings. Macaulay has written a number of books describing architectural edifices, so if this book prompted a response, there are many more like it. ( )
  bestwhensimple | May 3, 2009 |
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Book description
Through the construction of a mosque complex, younger readers are introduced to the religious significance of the various parts of a mosque in the Islamic religion. This story describes social and cultural elements of life in the Ottoman era in medieval Turkey and explains how wealthy people’s assets established foundations such as the one that made this massive construction project possible. Mosque is one of a number of richly illustrated books by David Macaulay including Pyramid, Cathedral, and City. It received the 2004 Middle East Outreach Council Younger Reference Award.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618240349, Hardcover)

An author and artist who has continually stripped away the mystique of architectural structures that have long fascinated modern people, David Macaulay here reveals the methods and materials used to design and construct a mosque in late-sixteenth- century Turkey. Through the fictional story and Macaulay’s distinctive full-color illustrations, readers will learn not only how such monumental structures were built but also how they functioned in relation to the society they served.
As always, Macaulay has given a great deal of attention to the relationship between pictures and text, creating another brilliant celebration of an architectural wonder.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:39 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An author and artist who has continually stripped away the mystique of architectural structures that have long fascinated modern people, David Macaulay here reveals the methods and materials used to design and construct a mosque in late-sixteenth-century Turkey. Through the fictional story and Macaulay's distinctive full-color illustrations, readers will learn not only how such monumental structures were built but also how they functioned in relation to the society they served.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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