#217 – Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale

Dreaming Up 20136 STARS

Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

Christy Hale

Lee and Low Books

January 2013

32 Pages     Ages: 4 to 8


Children building—

Concrete poetry—

Inside Jacket:  Pair them with notable structures from around the world and see children’s constructions taken to the level of architectural treasures. Here is a unique celebration of children’s playtime explorations and the surprising ways childhood experiences find expression in the dreams and work of innovative architects. Come be inspired to play—dream—build—discover!

on cup
stacking up,
smaller, smaller,
and growing taller!

This simple looking book of children at play may fool you at first glance. Pick it up and flip through the pages and you will see wonderfully imaginative, yet functional buildings very similar to those built by the children. Dreaming Up explores the relationship between children’s play and real life applications—in this book this is architecture and those responsible for creating them.

The illustrations on the left side of each spread are those of the children as depicted by author/illustrator, Christy Hale. The pictures on the right side of the spread are of the place that looks the child’s play on the left side. Much research must have gone into the making of this picture book.

I like the book because it shows that children’s play is not simply play—it is their work. Moshe Safdie, the architect of Habitat 67 in Montréal, Québec, Canada, could have been inspired by playing with Legos as a child, much like the children in the illustration to the left of his building.

The same might be said of Hassan Fathy, the architect of New Gourna Village in Near Luxor, Egypt, and the child making mud pies, or César Pelli, architect of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, and the children playing with plastic stacking cups, or Antoni Gaudí, architect of La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, and sand castles.

I think this is an inspirational book for kids who like to build and are told they are too old to be playing with card board boxes (The Box House, Maya Lin) or the couch cushions (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Frank Gehry). Some of the most prolific and inventive architects are in this picture book to further inspire children who love to build.

When I see children playing it always makes me smile, yet I sadness also washes over as I realize they have fewer and fewer hours and years to be children and play. Dreaming Up reminded me that child’s play is much more than having fun—it is work. Playing increases a child’s (or adult’s), sense of wonder, their intellect, and creativeness. Play is imperative to the growth of the child and continued good health for an adult.

I also think Dreaming Up is a beautiful book, not just because of the wondrous examples of architecture, but of the illustrations of these children, of all ages, at play. They are so life-like I thought some might be a photograph.  The verse with each child has rhythms and rhymes, plus it flows in a pattern similar to that of the child’s illustrated play.

I think boys and girls alike will enjoy Dreaming Up. This is also a great book for teachers to use in the classroom for inspiration and examples of building.  At this time of year, when gifting is on everyone’s mind, Dreaming Up would be a wonderful gift for children and adults (interested in architecture).

illustration samples will appear later today


Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Bulding

Author: Christy Hale    website   facebook
Publisher: Lee and Low Books    website
Release Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60060-651-9
Number of Pages
Ages: 4 to 8

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