Building on Nature, The Life of Antoni Gaudi by Rachel Rodriguez, illustrated by Julie Paschkis, 2009 Henry Holt, 32 pages.
Like most art students and lovers, I have had mixed feelings about the architecture of Gaudi all my life. When our oldes son visited Barcelona and sent pictures of Gaudi buildings, I planned on learning more about him. Now I find this new and remarkable picture book telling children about a man who was perhaps little understood during his lifetime.
What I find in the warmly-illustrated pages is a likeable man! A devout Catholic, a lover of nature and of poverty, married to his life's hard work. Perhaps his art isn't traditional, in any shape or form, but there is a genuine aspect of Gaudi's work that one can't help being attracted to.
This picture book does a good job of bringing his life and work to young children and it is a fun read aloud, written in the present tense, in poetic lines. The author's note adds important biographical information including the fact that he was a very early recycler, using all sort of discarded materials in his buildings. A list of websites is also listed. I found this list of buildings with photos very useful!