Iggy Peck, Architect
by Andrea Beaty; illustrated by David Roberts
Abrams Books for Young Readers
Around here, we experience deja vu over Iggy Peck, a wunderkind of 3-D thinking. Iggy built diaper pyramids at age two; Seth made parking lots for his cars and trucks, aligning them with surgical precision. Between Iggy's modeling clay pagoda and Seth's Lego mansions, I'm thinking we know little Iggy pretty well by now.
Like us, Iggy's folks are proud, if somewhat flummoxed. But he really hits the wall with 2nd-grade teacher Lila Greer, who doesn't appreciate the finer points of chalk castles. She and Iggy butt buttresses until a class outing gives Iggy his chance to save the day with some ingenuity and a whole mess of shoelaces.
Beaty rescues this from being yet another "you're special too!" book by keeping the focus on Iggy's restless mind and quirky creations. And genius isn't like having two bellybuttons, or some of the other idiocy in print; it's a trait that many kids do have, potentially putting them out of sync with our color-in-the-lines, ritalin-doped world.
But if the book didn't pass muster, I'd say so. Fortunately, I don't have any ethical conundrums about recommending it.
This book is fun -- and funny, and she does it all in a deceptively simple rhyme scheme: aabccb, which is a bitch to pull off consistently. But Beaty has virtually no syllables amiss:
"Ignacious, my son! What on Earth have you done?
That's disgusting and nasty, It stinks!"
But Iggy was gone. He was out on the lawn
using dirt clods to build a great Sphinx.
Roberts throws in some world landmarks, graph paper and pencil sketches to keep adults peering closely, while kids can admire the jazzy, multi-culti characters and outlandish constructs. He's become one of my favorites for portraying kids with a hip, retro sensibility; he clearly thinks they're smart. And he's right.
Other Book Buds reviews for David Roberts: Dumpster Diver