Iggy Peck, Architect - Thao Lam
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Iggy Peck, Architect

Iggy Peck, Architect

Iggy Peck, Architect

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When I was in junior high, I had a mean old bat for an art teacher. Let us call her Old Bat for short, in order to protect the not-so-innocent. Whenever she got angry, her voice would screech like nails on a chalkboard, and no matter what the weather was like outside, she would inevitably wear her signature sweater, dress shorts and tights. She was blunt and brutally honest to the point where it would be funny (unless it was you on the receiving end). She brought on the fear every day in class. Keep reading…

Old Bat pushed (well, more like shoved) us to reach our full potential. Failure was acceptable, but excuses were not. In her own oh-so-subtle way, she challenged, motivated and encouraged her students – she had the technique of tough love down to a fine art (pun intended).

It’s always the toughest teachers that you remember the most. She has my deepest respect and admiration, especially now that I’m no longer in her class.

Iggy Peck, Architect, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, reminds us how important it is to motivate and encourage our children’s passion and talents. Iggy has one passion: building. He really loves to use unconventional materials, like when he was two and he built a tower using dirty diapers and glue. At home, Iggy gets lots of encouragement and motivation from his proud parents. But, it’s a different story when he gets to grade two because his teacher, Miss Lila Greer, couldn’t care less about buildings – architecture, you see, has no place in grade two.

The illustrations are humorous with a touch of Edward Gorey’s influence in his line work and the way he portrays the grown ups in the book. However, the true craftsmanship of the illustrations is in the details – just as an example, I couldn’t help but examine all the different patterns on the kids’ clothing in one scene. On another page, all the individual pieces of chalk that Roberts has hand-drawn immediately convey how much time and care it would have taken Iggy to build a castle out of chalk.

The book is well laid out, and I think it was a brilliant idea to further the architectural theme by illustrating on graph paper. The title treatment was cleverly created using a stencil (a commonly used drafting tool), and the result is a title that looks structured and stacked with block-like letters on the cover, giving the impression of buildings and bricks.

An irresistibly rhyming story partners with whimsical illustrations, and together they will delight and inspire creativity in readers of all ages. Iggy’s message is one we should all take to heart: Don’t ever be afraid to express yourself.

Iggy Peck, Architect, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

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Author Andrea Beaty

Andrea lives with her family in Chicago, a perfect backdrop and inspiration for Iggy’s awesome architectural creations (Chicago is home to the world’s first skyscraper). It’s a very different environment from the one she grew up in, as Andrea was raised in a small town in southern Illinois where neighbors knew neighbors and life was simple.

Life in a small town may not have had the hustle and bustle of a city, but there was plenty of adventure to be found. Andrea and her five siblings would spend their summers exploring the surrounding forests and fields. When she wasn’t out looking for adventure, you would catch her reading her favorite Nancy Drew books.

I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.

“So glad you enjoyed IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT. It’s one of my favorites. David Roberts is simply amazing!”

– Andrea Beaty –

To find out more about Andrea Beaty, please visit her website: www.andreabeaty.com

Illustrator David Roberts

The year was 1970, the place Liverpool, and an artist was born (well, perhaps more than one). David Roberts eventually grew up to study Fashion Design and later went to work as a fashion illustrator in Hong Kong. He followed that up with a string of interesting jobs, including as a hat designer in England, hair washer, shelf stacker, egg fryer and a variety of others. Nowadays, he is a published author, editor, and an illustrator of children’s books.

Talent runs in the family: his sister, Lynn Roberts, also an author, and they have collaborated on several retellings of fairy stories. He currently lives in London.

Publisher Harry N. Abrams (Oct 1 2007)

ISBN-10 081091106X

ISBN-13 978-0810911062