Building the Book Cathedral

Building the Book Cathedral

by David Macaulay
     
 


It has been twenty-six years since the publication of CATHEDRAL. David Macaulay's first book, CATHEDRAL, introduced readers around the world to his unique gift for presenting architecture and technology in simple terms, and for demystifying even the most complex of concepts. CATHEDRAL received a Caldecott Honor Medal and is now considered a classic. BUILDING THE… See more details below

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Overview


It has been twenty-six years since the publication of CATHEDRAL. David Macaulay's first book, CATHEDRAL, introduced readers around the world to his unique gift for presenting architecture and technology in simple terms, and for demystifying even the most complex of concepts. CATHEDRAL received a Caldecott Honor Medal and is now considered a classic. BUILDING THE BOOK CATHEDRAL includes the content of CATHEDRAL in its entirety. Here Macaulay traces the evolution of his creative process in "building" that first book, from the initial concept to the finished drawings. He introduces the basic elements of structure and sequence and explains why one angle of a drawing may be better for conveying an idea than another. He describes how perspective, scale, and contrast can be used to connect a reader with concepts, and how placement of a picture on a page can make a difference in the way information is communicated. Building the Book Cathedral provides an opportunity to examine Macaulay's unique problem-solving skills as he looks back over two and a half decades at the book that launched his distinguished career.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

On its twenty-fifth anniversary, the author recounts the origins of his first book and suggests revisions he'd make in light of what he's learned ("the drawings for Cathedral were among my first serious attempts at working with pen and ink. They are understandably timid," he confides). Indeed, seeing how this Caldecott winner would alter a perennial favorite is as fascinating as becoming privy to its origins. Most of the original Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction is reproduced in this oversize celebratory volume, along with lots of preliminary sketches, new commentary, and revised, or newly deployed, art. Page design is improved with different cropping; drama and coherence are enhanced by new placement on the spread; size is changed for emphasis and variety; a bird's-eye view of the choir is rotated for a more vertiginous effect. There are also minor revisions of text and art for clarity, plus some rueful admissions (handsome as the shafts of light on page 109 may be, the sun could never shine into the nave from the north; the rope would go around the axle of the huge weight-lifting wheel, not circle its circumference-a gaffe duly corrected after the first edition, but "the scale of the bucket is still wrong. It looks like a medieval hot tub"). Such touches of informal humor further enliven a book that's already mesmerizing for both its original content and its insights into this author-illustrator's incisive, ebulliently creative mind.
Horn Book

Everyone who enjoys learning about the mysterious inner workings of anything, and particularly everyone interested in the creative process, will find this semi-confessional and somewhat instructional volume engrossing. The New York Times

Steven Heller
...an impeccable piece of scholarship and an artistic tour de force...Everyone who enjoys learning about the mysterious inner workings of anything, and particularly everyone interested in the creative process, will find this semi-confessional and somewhat instructional volume engrossing.
New York Times Book Review
Horn Book
On its twenty-fifth anniversary, the author recounts the origins of his first book and suggests revisions he'd make in light of what he's learned ("the drawings for Cathedral were among my first serious attempts at working with pen and ink. They are understandably timid," he confides). Indeed, seeing how this Caldecott winner would alter a perennial favorite is as fascinating as becoming privy to its origins. Most of the original Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction is reproduced in this oversize celebratory volume, along with lots of preliminary sketches, new commentary, and revised, or newly deployed, art. Page design is improved with different cropping; drama and coherence are enhanced by new placement on the spread; size is changed for emphasis and variety; a bird's-eye view of the choir is rotated for a more vertiginous effect. There are also minor revisions of text and art for clarity, plus some rueful admissions (handsome as the shafts of light on page 109 may be, the sun could never shine into the nave from the north; the rope would go around the axle of the huge weight-lifting wheel, not circle its circumference-a gaffe duly corrected after the first edition, but "the scale of the bucket is still wrong. It looks like a medieval hot tub"). Such touches of informal humor further enliven a book that's already mesmerizing for both its original content and its insights into this author-illustrator's incisive, ebulliently creative mind. j.r.l.
VOYA
Macaulay, best known for The Way Things Work (Houghton Mifflin, 1988/VOYA April 1989), Castle (1977), and Pyramid (1975), started it all by publishing, Cathedral in 1974. It was the fictional account of the construction of a medieval Gothic church, from conception to completion over eighty-six years. His drawings captured the ingenuity of early engineering and the painstaking detail that artisans put into their work. He has now created a work about how that book, which originally was going to be a story about a boy and some gargoyles, came about. His publisher was more interested in Macaulay's drawing of a cathedral in the background than in his gargoyle story. The author traveled to Europe, researched medieval construction methods, and created a storyboard, many more drawings, and a draft of the text. This book reproduces those drafts—scratch-outs, spelling and grammar corrections, and editors' notes included—to illustrate simultaneously the creation of the book and the cathedral within. The full text of the final version of Cathedral is presented along with alternative and rejected designs and illustrations, exposing "patches" that cover drawing mistakes. The author's commentaries about what he would change because of things he has learned in the last twenty-five years reveal that this is still a work in progress in his mind. This fascinating look at the construction of a book shows the exhaustive research that went into this particular one, leading the author to produce a whole series of architectural design books. Illus. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High,defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 1999, Houghton Mifflin, 112p, $29.95. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Kevin Beach

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-This 25th-anniversary visit to Cathedral (Houghton, 1973) is a special treat for all those who were captivated by the book the first time around and a fascinating tour of how the book was made for new and old fans alike. Macaulay retells the original story and adds numerous changes as he leads a tour of the cathedral of Chutreaux. Readers learn where the research was done and what it is like to work against deadlines. Many drawings are moved to a different page; on some, the scale has been altered and there are editorial notes and original sketches scattered on the cover and throughout this 112-page remake. Hindsight allows the author to make seemingly minute but important changes. It presents him with the opportunity to explain why certain sketches look just so; why there is a bird sitting in the rafters on one page, and how an error with a rope and a wheel on the following page came about. Macaulay's sense of humor adds a nice balance. This is an insider's view, offering a peek over the shoulder as author/illustrator creates a masterpiece and fine tunes his craft. For anyone interested in drawing, bookmaking, cathedrals, or minutia of the Middle Ages, this is a real delight.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395921470
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/25/1999
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 14.00(h) x 0.31(d)
Lexile:
1070L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
On its twenty-fifth anniversary, the author recounts the origins of his first book and suggests revisions he'd make in light of what he's learned ("the drawings for Cathedral were among my first serious attempts at working with pen and ink. They are understandably timid," he confides). Indeed, seeing how this Caldecott winner would alter a perennial favorite is as fascinating as becoming privy to its origins. Most of the original Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction is reproduced in this oversize celebratory volume, along with lots of preliminary sketches, new commentary, and revised, or newly deployed, art. Page design is improved with different cropping; drama and coherence are enhanced by new placement on the spread; size is changed for emphasis and variety; a bird's-eye view of the choir is rotated for a more vertiginous effect. There are also minor revisions of text and art for clarity, plus some rueful admissions (handsome as the shafts of light on page 109 may be, the sun could never shine into the nave from the north; the rope would go around the axle of the huge weight-lifting wheel, not circle its circumference-a gaffe duly corrected after the first edition, but "the scale of the bucket is still wrong. It looks like a medieval hot tub"). Such touches of informal humor further enliven a book that's already mesmerizing for both its original content and its insights into this author-illustrator's incisive, ebulliently creative mind.
Horn Book

Everyone who enjoys learning about the mysterious inner workings of anything, and particularly everyone interested in the creative process, will find this semi-confessional and somewhat instructional volume engrossing. The New York Times

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