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Palazzo Inverso

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Mauk, mischievous apprentice to the master architect, must not draw on the plans for the new Palazzo. But by turning the plans a bit each day, he finds a way to alter them, turning the master’s creation onto its head!  Discover what mystery and excitement a small change of perspective has brought to the Palazzo.

In this M.C. Escher-inspired masterpiece, D.B. Johnson pushes the picture book form to new extremes. With its continuous narrative and illustrations that can viewed...

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2010 Hardcover New jacket First Edition. New Hardcover with dust jacket, clean, tight, unmarked, (Fine with Fine Dust Jacket), All orders are shipped by kbooks every business ... day. Read more Show Less

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Hardcover New A young apprentice to a master builder does some mischief that causes a palace to be built upside-down, which creates all sorts of trouble-and fun. This book is ... inspired by the work of M.C. Escher and intended to be read front-to-back, then turned over and read back-to-front. Read more Show Less

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In this playful story inspired by the impossible buildings of the artist M. C. Escher, Mauk's master is building a grand Palazzo. When something strange and wonderful happens, ... Mauk is catapulted into a topsy-turvy world. The author draws us into an astounding world where the reader turns Mauk on his head and sends him all the way back to his story's beginning in a dazzling endless loop. A fun book. Read more Show Less

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Palazzo Inverso

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Overview

Mauk, mischievous apprentice to the master architect, must not draw on the plans for the new Palazzo. But by turning the plans a bit each day, he finds a way to alter them, turning the master’s creation onto its head!  Discover what mystery and excitement a small change of perspective has brought to the Palazzo.

In this M.C. Escher-inspired masterpiece, D.B. Johnson pushes the picture book form to new extremes. With its continuous narrative and illustrations that can viewed upside down, readers can turn the book over on page thirty two and read all the way back to page one. Enter the Palazzo Inverso...and see if you can find your way out. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
M.C. Escher's grayscale tessellations and stairways-to-nowhere set the stage for this inspired adventure by Johnson (the Henry series). An architect's apprentice named Mauk (Escher's nickname) prepares for another day with "the Master," designing a grand palazzo. He jogs through courtyards, passing bricklayers "spilling bricks on the ceiling" and a fountain that is "falling up." Every surface is inside-out and upside-down, and mischievous Mauk is to blame: even though his only task is to sharpen pencils, he "might have turned the drawing around just a tiny bit" while the architect napped. Johnson's book design gives pause at first, with dark text running along the foot of each spread and pale text running upside-down along the top. This arrangement becomes clear on the last page, when the text crawls up the margin and the book flips to continue the circular story. The written tale, of Mauk defying gravity to evade punishment, unifies the perspective-busting illustrations, which acquire new meanings on the inverted run-through. Johnson's optical illusions salute Escher and establish a clever slapstick sequence. If the written narrative is flat, Johnson's visual game provides dizzying thrills. Ages 3–7. (May)
From the Publisher
"An undeniably impressive bit of optical trickery with an even neater narrative flip at the conclusion."—Booklist

"M.C. Escher's grayscale tessellations and stairways-to-nowhere set the stage for this inspired adventure by Johnson (the Henry series)...The written tale, of Mauk defying gravity to evade punishment, unifies the perspective-busting illustrations, which acquire new meanings on the inverted run-through. Johnson's optical illusions salute Escher and establish a clever slapstick sequence."—Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Inspired by the art of M.C. Escher, Johnson tells a story to be read first from left to right and front to back, and then, turning the book around, back in the other direction. Mauk, our young hero, is the apprentice to a Master building a grand Palazzo in the middle of a lake. Answering a summons, Mauk rows across the lake. He finds that the workmen are busy there, but the palace looks strangely different. Workers are falling, hanging out of windows, walking on their hands; the fountain is falling up. The Master blames Mauk for changing the drawings, but Mauk has not been allowed to do more than sharpen pencils, except... Mauk runs from the angry Master, knowing all the ways out, and being cheered for the inverted palace. The odd tale ends, and then leads us to turn the book around and begin again. Built soundly on the foundation laid by Escher, the romp is visually recounted in a crafty sequence of scenes with floors, windows, and spiral staircases apparently "borrowed" from some of the Master's drawings. The challenging double-page illustrations are produced using mixed media in tones of sepia. The effect is mystical, and our puzzlement is only partially reduced by the simple line of text running around the pictures. There is a toy-like quality to the scenes and the characters. The endpages come from Escher's optical illusion of patterns of swimming fish ... or are they flying birds? A note adds factual information. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
An homage to M.C. Escher's head-tilting, mind-reeling artwork, this disorienting book asks children to stretch their imaginations and travel on a circuitous journey outside traditional, comfortable reading experiences. Mauk, an architect's apprentice, wakes up in an upside-down world, and readers follow him as he makes a baffling commute to work. They also have a difficult trip ahead of them, as navigating the book is an arduous task. Children must use arrows to know where and how to continue reading the text, all while ignoring words in lighter lettering that run backward along the tops of pages. At the back of the book, they must flip it upside down to continue reading. While the altered perspective endows the illustrations with sudden clarity and richer meaning, readers will remain only mildly enthralled. Drab, blurry monochromatic color and flat, soulless imagery lack Escher's exhilarating, engaging precision. When readers finally reach the ending, they realize it actually lies at the very beginning, on the very first page, using the very words that started Mauk's whole adventure. Whoa! Few children will persevere through this exhausting journey. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547239996
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

D.B. Johnson has been a freelance illustrator for more than twenty years, during which time he has drawn upon the influence and philosophy of Henry David Thoreau to create the highly-acclaimed, bestselling Henry series. In a similar fashion, Palazzo Inverso is inspired by the work of M. C. Escher, whose ideas and drawings of impossible buildings with multiple points of view, tesselations, reflections, continuous loops, and interlocking positive and negative space have been fascinating spectators since the mid-1900s. D.B. Johnson and his wife, Linda Michelin, live in New Hampshire.

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