Iggy Peck, Architect

9 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520085920.
Gr 1–3—David Roberts' clever and detailed illustrations are given minimal animation in Dreamscape's DVD version of Andrea Beaty's picture book. Iggy's second-grade teacher, who once had a bad experience in a tall building's elevator, shuns any mention of architecture in her class. When a bridge collapses during a class outing, Iggy, who has always been fascinated by architecture, leads the class in building a bridge from materials at hand so that the teacher is no longer stranded. Despite being read by the author, the text is awkward at times. The soundscape is understated, limited to sounds of a classroom of children, birdsong, rushing water, and building sounds as the children construct a suspension bridge. Simple piano strains accompany the teacher's memory of being lost in a tall building and plaintively demonstrate Iggy's sadness in being prohibited from the pleasure of building. However, the animation is minimal: eyeballs move, arms wave stiffly, heads move from static necks. Casting the teacher as an enemy of architecture is odd, and the backstory seems silly and inauthentic. The strength of the title is its illustrations, whose details readers will enjoy by spending ample time absorbing them. Teachers will find this package a springboard for building activities, especially using unconventional materials and for introducing architectural concepts.
VERDICT The scarcity of fiction at this level on the theme of architecture adds value to this selection. An optional purchase for elementary school and public library collections.

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