K-Gr 2—As early as two years of age, Iggy determinedly builds structures from a variety of common items like pancakes and diapers, and his parents are amazed at his "unusual passion." In second grade, though, his teacher informs him that there is no room for architecture in her classroom. "That might seem severe, but she was sincere./For when she was no more than seven, /she'd had a great fright at a dizzying height/in a building so tall it scraped Heaven." School becomes a bore for Iggy, until the students go on a picnic and cross a trestle to a small island, only to have the trestle collapse. As the teacher faints, Iggy comes to the rescue. Using whatever he can find: boots, shoelaces, tree roots, he enlists his classmates to help him construct a suspension bridge. When Miss Greer recovers, she realizes the importance of building dreams. After that, second graders in Blue River Creek Elementary are taught every week about some of the world's greatest buildings by Iggy Peck, architect. The detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor spreads, evocative of architectural drawings, are crisp, clean, and expressive. Through cartoonlike characters set against white backgrounds or, on occasion, graph paper, they capture the emotion and action of this imaginative story.
Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Youthful irreverence and creativity find a champion in this tale of Iggy Peck, a child who once built a great towerin only an hour/ with nothing but diapers and glue. At the sight (and smell) of this wonder, Iggys mother memorably responds, Good Gracious, Ignacious! She supports his precocity, despite his preferred media. When Iggy arrives in second grade, however, his teacher forbids such follies, based on her childhood fear of skyscrapers. Her backstory suggests teachers rules can be arbitrary, not to mention damaging to inventive students: With no chance to build, his interest was killed, and Iggy droops disconsolately at his desk amid blank negative space. His ennui lasts until a fortuitous school picnic, when a rickety footbridge collapses (and so does the teacher); led by Iggy, the children construct a suspension bridge from boots, tree roots and strings, fruit roll-ups and things/ (some of which one should not mention), including undies. Beaty ("When Giants Come to Play") favors sprightly stanzas, while Roberts ("Mrs. Crumps Cat") drafts orderly watercolor images on, alternately, clean white paper and graph paper. The structured rhymes and controlled illustrations fit the architectural theme, and if the mannered poetry strains at times, Roberts breaks free of the stylization with absorbing details. Each of Iggys 16 classmates, for example, has his or her own unique quality, implying the variety of personalities and potentials to be appreciated in any group of children. Ages 4-8. "(Oct.)"
Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.