Praise and Reviews
"In a biography both concrete and touched with whimsy, Going introduces Frank Lloyd Wright, first as the boy who became intrigued with shapes, and then as the man who changed the world of architecture...A robust two-page spread shows young Frank stacking, building, and knocking them down...The observations delight as well as linger, and a grown Frank, still inspired by his childhood blocks and memories of life out of doors, uses these ideas in his career as an architect. “When other architects chose walls, he chose windows,” says Going, and, indeed, the illustrations show Wright’s intricate glass creations from his many structures (identified in the back matter). Although some of the depictions of his buildings, several to a page, are too small to appreciate, they do generate an overall sense of the artist’s range. The simplicity of Going’s words work neatly in tandem with Stringer’s artwork, reminiscent of illustrations of the 1930s and 1940s. A spot-on introduction to Wright and an evocative recognition of the way a child is father to the man."— Ilene Cooper
"A boyhood fascination with shapes and nature informed the hundreds of structures Frank Lloyd Wright would go on to design as an architect. Going and Stringer thoughtfully examine those twin influences through this biography's poetic text and handsome illustrations. Created with pencil and paint, Stringer's layouts draw on the geometric shapes and strong horizontal lines of the Prairie School movement; several of Wright's famous buildings, including Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum, appear throughout (a closing guide identifies these and other structures). Going, meanwhile, emphasizes the curiosity, questioning, and observation that shaped his designs: "He never forgot the smooth weight of the blocks his mother had given him when he was a boy. He remembered the hills and prairies surrounding his family's farm." A lovely introduction to the work of this trailblazing architect. "
"Call it serendipity: the autumn publication cycle brings us back-to-back releases of picture-book biographies of visionary architects, whose childhood experiences drew them to look to the natural world for design inspiration but whose projects could hardly offer sharper contrast. In Going’s title, young Frank Lloyd Wright is encouraged by his mother to investigate shapes, and as he fingers the smooth wood of his building blocks, he comes to understand how shapes fit within shapes and, later, how that arrangement works in nature. When he became an architect, this perspective manifested in the angular cantilevers of domestic architecture nestling in wooded settings, in “towers as tall and thick as trees,” in windows that admitted the outside rather than walls that excluded it. Winter introduces Iraqi- born, British-educated Zaha Hadid—the first woman to be awarded architecture’s prestigious Pritzker Prize—who a century later would bring elements from nature (reed bundles, half-opened shells, waves, spiral galaxies) and drop their outsized iterations into sites throughout Asia and Europe. Winter and Stringer, whose illustrations reflect the designs of their subjects, share an approach that incorporates the architect’s imagination at play alongside actual buildings come to life, and such common motifs as shell and tree offer the child audience the opportunity to ponder how each designer’s vision is unique. Although neither work offers photographs of completed projects, both select buildings highlighted in the text for extra attention in thumbnail pictures and paragraphs in the end matter. Each also supplies a list of resources and closing author notes. Whether viewers favor the tidy lines and graceful flow of Wright’s work or the startling disruption of Hadid’s bold forms, this pairing should ignite interest in the built environment." EB
--Bulletin of the Center of Children's Books
"A whimsical look at the life of one of the best-known American architects... Art and text work together to convey an inevitability to Wright's growth toward his famous Prairie style architecture. Stringer's watercolor illustrations depict the contrasting yet complementary geometric shapes and curved lines that characterize Wright's work. The book's strong design begins with its nearly square shape and a cover that's reminiscent of one of Wright's leaded stained glass windows. The theme of windows looking out onto the world is evident throughout, incorporating elements unique to Wright's style. Rich colors are balanced with a clear, direct storyline that will capture children's natural interest in the stuff of imagination. Simple prose set in a light type that reflects Wright's art serves as a jumping-off point for each of the expansive illustrations, giving young readers ample opportunity to discover hidden gems in the pages, such as the red squares that are scattered throughout Wright's work. A lovely introduction to the impact that a creative mind can have on the world."
"This picture book biography of Frank Lloyd Wright addresses the question: Do seeds planted early in life bloom into greatness? ... Going’s focus on a successful career born of childhood passions keeps the narrative child-friendly and seamless. Acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations depict many of Wright’s more famous structures, such as Fallingwater and the Guggenheim Museum, using earth tones that reflect Wright’s reverence for nature. The book is designed in a square format, echoing Wright’s distinctive red square signature. VERDICT A pleasing addition to picture book biography or art collections for children. "
--School Library Journal
"...Lauren Stringer’s warm and accessible pictures show Wright at various stages of life against backdrops that nod to his designs. Every aspect of the book is thoughtful, from the square trim size to the color palette to the typeface based on lettering designed by Wright."
"Telling the tale of one of the most celebrated and complex architects of the 20th century is no easy task. By identifying nature as Frank Lloyd Wright's principal source of inspiration and highlighting select projects, author K.L. Going and illustrator Lauren Stringer succeed in rousing the interest of young readers in Wright's life and work... The mixed-media illustrations are inspired by his work, and three sets stand out: one that depicts natural elements (raindrops, lightning, the river) by qualifying their attributes, another that combines many of Wright’s window-pattern designs, and a set that superimposes three buildings — Hanna House, Johnson Wax Headquarters, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum — with elements of nature. Stringer transcends the descriptive in those sets and offers hybrid images, whimsically fusing nature and architecture in ways that are credible and engaging to young readers....The capacity to marvel at nature’s complex beauty is not lost on adult readers, either, who might enjoy experiencing the venerated American architect through the book’s simple words and charming illustrations."
"I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering if this book covers the whole two families aspect of Mr. Wright’s life. You may also be wondering how such a nasty individual translates to the picture book format. Well, Going had the idea of making it more about his influences than his life. In that vein the book examines the mark of nature on the works he created. And THAT is worthy of a book for kids, you bet."
--A Fuse #8 Production by Elizabeth Bird
The Shape of the World,