Brick Who Found Herself in Architecture (Review)
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
Author: Joshua David Stein
Illustrator: Julia Rothman
Publisher: Phaidon Press Limited, 2018
Interest Level: Ages 3 and up
Reading Level: N/A
Retail: $16.95, hardcover
Summary: Unsure of her place in the world, a brick travels the globe visiting famous brick structures and buildings. In the end, she decides to be part of something greater, helping others in their own travels by becoming a part of a path.
It isn’t often that you see a book on architecture for young children, let alone one that features an important social-emotional lesson. This book is a delight to read. In addition to the story - simply told and illustrated with collage and ink - the book has informational end notes and photographs of each historic place visited by the young brick.
This coming-of-age tale has just the right balance of whimsy and reflection, and as such it succeeds in being both educational and engaging. Intricate drawings of buildings invite close inspection, and maintain interest with repeat readings. The brick herself is lovable with her smile and silly stick figure limbs.
Adult readers are cautioned not to read too much into this story. Choosing to be part of a path does not need to mean allowing others to walk all over you. "All in all you’re just another brick in the wall." Let’s not go there. The idea of being important, even if you are small, is the message here. Everyone can make a difference.
I can’t close this review without mentioning a misstatement in the end notes. You may be amazed to read that it “only took 16 minutes to build” a house in Levittown. The often-cited figure is that a house was completed, on average, every 16 minutes. This is a crucial distinction for adults to understand. Young children, not so much.