Page C2.1 . 29 November 2000                     
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    A is for Apple...No More

    by Joseph Minor

    Book Review: Arches to Zigzags: An Architecture ABC, by Michael J. Crosbie, photography by Steve and Kit Rosenthal. Harry N. Abrams., Inc., 2000, ISBN 0-8109-4218-6.

    Arches to Zigzags is ostensibly an aid to youngsters learning the alphabet. But its professional photography and explanation of architectural terms in verse commends it to an older age group. For those who get caught up in the beautiful images by Steve and Kit Rosenthal, the appendix explains their origins and gives more information about the terminology.

    When a book comes along that has obvious appeal for "kids" of all ages, it seems appropriate to get the collective opinion of a family. ArchitectureWeek asked for comments from Joseph Minor, who has a grown-up's interest in buildings, and his sons Nicolas, age 11, and Lucas, age 3. The father tells what happened:

    The three of us sat down together with "Arches to Zigzags" and had pretty different reactions. Once I got started, I couldn't stop. Even though it's supposed to be a kid's book, I found the examples compelling and even learned some new terms. Now I know what to call the "Quoins" that have returned to fashion. (Unfortunately, around here, they're all fake.)

    One reason for my older son's interest in the book is that so many of these examples are outside his direct experience as a suburban California boy. He found the corncob Capitals from North Carolina to be "interesting," the Keystone in Jefferson's Rotunda Library "neat," and the Eaves in the Robie House, "cool."

    His favorite, though, was the Gargoyles, which he described as "dog-like creatures with wings."



    ArchWeek Photo

    Gargoyles are cool for some kids; scary for others
    Photo: Steve and Kit Rosenthal

    ArchWeek Photo

    For many children, this will offer a first introduction to some of our national treasures.
    Photo: Steve and Kit Rosenthal


    Click on thumbnail images
    to view full-size pictures.

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