Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland into a Home

Calkins Creek. Sept. 2019. 32p. notes. photos. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781629794402.
Gr 2-5–In this picture book biography of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Rosenstock emphasizes the development of Wright’s unique architectural vision; he grew up to believe that houses should fit the landscapes surrounding them and the lifestyle of families living in them. He thought that houses should also include the basic shapes that he had grown to love as a young boy. Instead of focusing on specific buildings Wright created, this book highlights the roots of his thinking—how what he believed as a boy influenced what he did as a grown man. These ideas are reinforced by Neal’s illustrations. The rolling, colorful prairie of Wisconsin that Wright loved is in contrast with the gray, rocky coast of New England where his family moved when he was nine. Neal also contrasts the old-style European houses being built on the prairie with Wright’s newer vision of a prairie house that fit the landscape. Back matter deepens understanding of Wright’s delight in shapes and natural landscapes, and includes photographs of the subject and some of his outstanding architecture.
VERDICT An excellent introduction to the ideas behind Wright’s architecture. Use with K.L. Going’s The Shape of the World and Lynda Waggoner’s Fallingwater to learn more about the man who has been called America’s greatest architect

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