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Building Stories by Isabel Hill
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Building Stories

by Isabel Hill

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Louis Sullivan is famous for saying “Form follows function”. This upcoming book is a look at the stories that buildings can tell us. By looking at the different decorations adorning buildings, Hill shows kids that they can tell a good deal about a building, just by looking at the outside.


Buildings are like books with stories that last.
They tell us about our present and also our past.

The outside of a building says quite a lot.
About setting, about character, and even about plot.

Each two-page fold is mostly photographs of a particular building, with a rhyming couplet explaining the building and its purpose. Also included are some historical photos from inside the building of various workers at their tasks or consumers enjoying the building.

This is an entertaining introduction to architecture for young children, but is definitely of the read-aloud category. Some of the vocabulary is beyond the picture book age group (i.e., hydrant, monumental, unique). There is also a ‘Characters and Plots’ section in the back of the book that gives more information on the buildings described. It’s a little bit heavier text-wise, so I don’t know how many kids will stick around for it; they might be better served by including this information on the original pages.

I hope that Hill follows this up with an update that takes it a little further afield. All of the buildings included are historical works in New York City. After all, Frank LLoyd Wright updated Sullivan: “Form ever follows function and environment.” ( )
1 vote ScoutJ | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Rhyming text and photographs of icons on buildings invite the reader to guess what was done or made in each building originally. Includes "stories characters and plots" of the buildings, as well as their settings.

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