Did you know that it took ten million bricks to build the Empire State Building?

Did you know that residents of the John Hancock Center sometimes have to call down to the doorman to find out the weather on the streets below?

Did you know a building in Dubai is planned to be nearly one half mile high?

In Skyscraper, Lynn Curlee delves into one of man's endless fascinations — ...

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Did you know that it took ten million bricks to build the Empire State Building?

Did you know that residents of the John Hancock Center sometimes have to call down to the doorman to find out the weather on the streets below?

Did you know a building in Dubai is planned to be nearly one half mile high?

In Skyscraper, Lynn Curlee delves into one of man's endless fascinations — building as high in the sky as possible.

From the the Empire State Building to the Chrysler Building, to the Sears and Hancock Towers, to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, to the World Trade Center, Curlee captures all the drama, excitement, and tragedy of man's attempt to reach ever closer to the clouds. Skyscraper details the history of these monuments to ambition, science, and curiosity, beginning with their origins at the Pyramid of Giza and the Eiffel Tower and then moving to New York (the skyscraper capital of the world), Chicago, Boston, and finally to the skyward expansion that is spreading across the globe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Having taken readers behind the scenes for the construction of the Statue of Liberty and a tour of the nation's baseball parks (among many other topics), Lynn Curlee now traces the history of the Skyscraper, which he calls "a uniquely American invention." What unfolds is a history of ingenuity and creativity, first in the U.S., and then around the globe, as architects recognized the possibilities of the new technologies. Curlee covers a wide spectrum, from New York's Chrysler Building to the Petronas Towers in Malaysia to a tribute to the Twin Towers. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
Since man first began to construct buildings, there has always been this fascinating question: "How high can we go?" Lynn Curlee explores the history of this question as it applies to skyscrapers in this wonderfully illustrated text. Skyscrapers have their roots in nineteenth century America, when advanced building techniques and the invention of the elevator allowed man to reach higher than ever before. The record for the tallest building is one that has been broken quite often over the last century. While Americans built many of the early skyscrapers, other countries soon began constructing them as well. Building styles changed as well, reflecting the styles of the time in which they were built. Skyscrapers instantly become a landmark in any city in which they are constructed. No where is that more evident than New York City, where, tragically, one of the most famous skyscrapers was destroyed in a terrorist attack in 2001. As a memorial, lights were beamed into the sky to indicated where the towers once stood. Lynn Curlee's book is a new breed of nonfiction. The opening page depicts men dressed like skyscrapers, establishing the artwork in this book as being the artists own interpretation, rather than photographs. This forces the reader to look at the skyscrapers not just as technological wonders, but as forms of art. Only one picture seems misplaced: a drawing of the original design of the Shanghai World Financial Center is opposite the page where the events of 9/11 are described. Still, one cannot help but be utterly fascinated by both Curlee's illustrations and the nonfiction text that accompanies them.
School Library Journal

Gr 4–8
Dramatic paintings and lucid prose highlight this excellent history of skyscrapers. Nearly every spread features a full page of text opposite an impressive acrylic illustration. Thus, a page turn reveals another striking construction as the text proceeds chronologically. Precise lines and deft coloring convey the elegance and grandeur of the buildings. Carefully varied composition reveals full views, key sections, or from-the-ground-up perspectives, helping readers grasp the essence of each construction. Clean, stylized renderings make each skyscraper clearly distinct from others shown, and the main elements of the different architectural styles are easy to identify. Curlee covers a lot of ground, from early multistory buildings in Chicago and New York to the latest ambitious plans for new record-breaking towers. He offers useful historical context and relates how architectural artistry and technology impacted skyscrapers through the decades. Well-chosen quotations, used as section headings and within the text, show diverse opinions, ideas, and reactions related to this sometimes-controversial field. When buildings are described without illustrations, the significant elements are still easy to follow through the words. The powerful effect of the full-color paintings is substantial, though, and works with the text to introduce the magnificence of skyscrapers in a way that readers will understand and remember.
—Steven EngelfriedCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Between a view of the Chrysler Building and a to-scale gallery of present and future behemoths, Curlee offers an opinionated survey of more than a dozen skyscrapers and their architects, chronicling the "rise" of both over the past century and a half of building big. The blocky, stylized structures in his paintings are evocatively monumental, but his soaring tribute is likely to leave readers behind-unless they're conversant with undefined architectural terms like "pier" and "pylon," and don't mind a text laced with names that are seldom accompanied by any biographical details. An index and resource list would have been fitting. A grand tale, but children seeking specifics, or more than the occasional glimpse inside the walls, will prefer Carol A. Johnson's hands-on Skyscrapers! Super Constructions to Design and Build (2001), or Chris Oxlade's Skyscrapers (2006), with its cutaways and plastic overlays. (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689844898
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 622,454
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1200L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynn Curlee, who received a Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book Award for Brooklyn Bridge, comes from a family of intense sports fans. His other books include Liberty, Ships of the Air, Into the Ice: The Story of Arctic Exploration, Rushmore, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Capital, and, most recently, Parthenon. He lives on the North Fork of Long Island, New York.

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