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Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  361 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
A collection of illustrations, concrete poetry, and photographs that shows how young children's constructions, created as they play, are reflected in notable works of architecture from around the world.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Lee & Low Books (first published April 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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A children's book that combines architecture, poetry, and a global look at the world. The best nonfiction books nowadays provide multiple access points for different readers with different interests, and Dreaming Up is a stellar example of that approach. Short poems, featuring heavy meter and rhyme, are laid out alongside corresponding illustrations of children at play (wooden blocks, a pillow fort, sand castles). On the opposite page, iconic buildings from around the world (Wright's Fallingwate ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll-538
I like this book as an introduction to architecture. The illustrations show how children might view real life buildings, which are shown as pictures on the opposite pages. I also appreciated the word positioning and font choices and how they mirrored the structures. The end of the book includes details about the architects and the locations of the buildings. 2016 Monarch Award Nominee
Aug 08, 2013 Debra rated it really liked it
An amazing book to introduce children to how their building blocks, legos, tent blankets etc. relate to actual buildings. Very few words - excellent illustrations and photos. Additional information about the buildings referenced and their international architects are included in the back.
Jul 30, 2016 hannah added it
Shelves: picture-books, 2016
I think this was an excellent idea.
Feb 07, 2017 Earl rated it really liked it
I love it when books are more than they seem. The bulk of this picture book shows kids building all kinds of things using all sorts of materials-like popsicle sticks, Lego bricks, blankets and pillows- accompanied by a real world structure similar to their creation. The text is various concrete poems and will serve as a fun read-aloud. My favorite part is the nonfiction aspect of the book which is the back matter including information about the structures, a short biography of the architects and ...more
Hale, C. (2012). Dreaming up: A celebration of building. New York: Lee and Low Books.

Picture Book

This book uses rhyming text, illustrations, and photographs to explore the joy of building things. Each 2 page spread features an illustration of children building a structure with everyday objects like playing cards, Legos or sticks - and on the opposite page is a photograph of an actual building or structure that is similar in style to the children's building.

For example, there is an illustration
Roberta Gibson
Oct 28, 2012 Roberta Gibson rated it it was amazing

No matter what the materials are, children love to stack and build. The new picture book, Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale, is sure to help them reach to even greater heights.

Picture a lovely illustration of children building with different materials accompanied with a intriguing shape poem that describes what they are doing. Now turn the page and there is a full color photograph of a real building that mimics the ideas from the play version, bigger
The thought that went into this book amazes me. The book highlights some amazing architecture. What sets the book apart though, is that for every structure, there is a mixed media illustration of young children creating a similar structure with everyday materials such as stacking cubes, legos, mud or even the cardboard tubes from paper towel rolls. There is also a concrete poem that also speaks of the children's creations while it gives the reader another way to imagine or "see" the shapes that ...more
The publisher's summary is spot-on: "A collection of concrete poetry, illustrations, and photographs that show how young children's constructions, created as they play, are reflected in notable works of architecture from around the world. Includes biographies of the architects, quotations, and sources."

The more I look at this book, the more I love it. It truly honors children's play as meaningful and intentional and clearly demonstrates play as the foundation for the development of skills that c
Kristi Bernard
May 27, 2013 Kristi Bernard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
Do your young readers make forts out of pillows or build make believe houses from popsicle sticks or old cardboard boxes? If so, they will absolutely love what's in these pages. If you have young readers who have never tried building anything on their own, they will love all of the wonderful ideas presented here. Parents and teachers will love the rhyme that's introduced on every page. Young readers will love looking at the pictures of kids building with plastic stackable toys, cared board boxes ...more
Angela Marie
Nov 25, 2013 Angela Marie rated it really liked it
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale is a great informational picture book that compares the buildings that children create with blocks and other toys to great architectural structures. On the left side of the page it shows something that a child has created and on the right side it shows a photograph of an actual building that looks like the child's creation. My favorite page was the book described building a hideaway out of blankets and chairs becuase that is what I always ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Apr 25, 2015 Vernon Area Public Library KIDS rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: K-2
Author Christy Hale does a wonderful job in introducing young readers to modern architecture from around the world and relating it back to their everyday lives. By using well-crafted poetry and illustrations of children engaged in making buildings and structures with simple materials on one page (blocks, legos, sofa cushions, sand, etc.), she mirrors the shape and form of their creations to contemporary architecture from around the world on the opposite page. One beautiful example is when Hale c ...more
Amy Forrester
Mar 07, 2014 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
This concept book draws comparisons between structures built by children and buildings designed by famous architects. Each two page spread features an illustration on the left-hand side of children and a structure they have built from everyday objects: cardboard boxes, sofa cushions, blankets and chairs, blocks, Legos, and more. On the right side is a photograph of a building that corresponds in shape, color, material, or aesthetic. The illustrations depict a variety of skin and hair colors and ...more
Allison Parker
Jan 30, 2013 Allison Parker rated it it was amazing
This book bridges the worlds of a child's imaginative play with the work of modern architects. On the left page, the reader sees a collage, mix-media scene of children constructing, assembling, or creating something, from sand castles to pillow forts, always accompanied by a bit of poetry whose form beautifully reflects the children's work. Then on the right, the author presents a full-page photograph of a building, its image and construction uncannily similar to what the children are making. It ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Valerie rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb
Imagine yourself as a child again, building with your favorite blocks. Were they wooden, balanced precariously or placed precisely? Was cardboard a favored construction material for you, or were you fond, perhaps, of Lego or other snap together pieces? Think back, just for a moment; remember the feeling you had as architect, as master builder, as creator of contained space. Then read Dreaming Up ,by Christy Hale and relive that feeling and much more.
Hale has not only captured the wonder of chil
Apr 13, 2013 Bruce rated it it was amazing
Using the techniques of rime, rhythm, concrete poetry and painting, Hale portrays children at play using sticks, building blocks, mud, sticks, cushions and blanket to build model buildings, sandcastles and playhouses for themselves on the verso pages of her picture book. Juxtaposed to these on the recto pages are color photographs of significant works of world architecture that reflect the techniques that the children are using. Next to the painting and poem of two children at the shore building ...more
Laura Salas
Apr 14, 2013 Laura Salas rated it really liked it
What a cool concept! Hale takes different building activities for kids (cushion forts, Legos, building blocks, etc.) and describes each one in a poem. Then the right page of the spread has a photo of a real building/structure out in the world, designed by a noteworth architect, that uses the a related activity/process.

For instance, one spread shows kids building with Legos and has this poem:

One by one,
block by block,
plastic shapes

Yellow, red,
white, and black,
all connect
in a stack.

Oct 12, 2016 Alexus rated it it was amazing
Dreaming Up is about children who build things using objects at home, this story is to encourage children to use their imagination and build whatever it is the see. the book has a lot of rhyming that is very pleasant for young readers. the book is not comical, so the rhymes add fun to the book. Also the words are written in shapes similar to what the children are building, this also helps added fun to the story. Also shows how important it is to be creative. the illustration has two different ap ...more
Stephanie Croaning
I judge books by their covers, and didn't feel I would be all that into this book celebrating building, but it really took me by surprise. Stunning! Fifteen different buildings are reviewed, from the Guggenheim to the Paper Tube School. Each school gets a two-page spread that features a photo of the building on one page and a poem and illustration of children at play on the other. The poems celebrate the architectural style and feel, while the illustration shows the architecture of the building ...more
Nov 06, 2013 Alice rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love-it
This book just hit me straight at the heart. As a kid I wanted to be an architech...I would play with Lego, look at floor plans of houses, and dream. I wasn't good at math and was told to be an architect you needed to be good at math...well now with CAD...who needs math but oh well. I have studies architecture on my own and love buildings.

This book takes major architecture around the world and puts it in child like terms. Cups can be stacked that the towers in Malaysia, Lego's can be like a hou
RLL22016 Phoebe
Nov 06, 2016 RLL22016 Phoebe rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Dreaming up: A Celebration of Building because they were very creative with passing on the information of what toys looked like the buildings that was represented in the book. One page was a painting of a child playing with a item that looked like what the building on the next page was made of. This makes you really look differently at toys and how they look a lot like buildings. I would recommend this book for 1st graders and up I would even use it for younger grades. I would u ...more
Jun 10, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it
This is a really cool little book that, at first glance, might seem to be just for toddlers and preschoolers: the crowd that is usually stacking cups and boxes and what have you up as tall as themselves. But Hale takes it further: each spread has on one page a child or children building something creative out of some particular materials--and a nice multicultural approach here, urban/rural, etc. The facing page shows a real building made out of similar materials and having a similar shape. The a ...more
Audrey's Picture Books
Mar 29, 2016 Audrey's Picture Books rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, art
My main criticism of this book is that it should have been wordless. The visuals are really very cool, and I loved the parallels between children's building toys and actual buildings. I initially thought that it was rather a hoky concept, but it ended up giving me a completely new perspective on the buildings included. Very few books are capable of doing that--much less simple picture books. Moreover, it fills a real gap in picture book nonfiction: it's the only picture book on architecture that ...more
Nov 01, 2016 Eliza added it
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christie Hale is my second Poetry book review. This books shows how children’s construction is reflected in notable works of architecture around the world and the illustrations and photographs are used together to compare children’s construction to existing architecture. The last few pages of the book contain descriptions of the architecture shown in the photographs. This book is appropriate for children of all ages and can be used by teachers to help yo ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Mary rated it it was amazing
This book, a "celebration of building", is one part picture book, one part collection of concrete poetry, and one part nonfiction book about architecture. On the left side of each spread is an illustration of a child (or children) building or creating with toys and materials like LEGOs, toothpicks, couch cushions, etc. Each illustration is accompanied by a concrete poem that takes the shape of the structure being built. On the right side of the spread is a photograph of an actual building or str ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Julee rated it really liked it
Dreaming Up! A Celebration of Building at first look appears to be a picture book but it hides so much more within its pages. Hale provides illustrations of children doing what they do best-using their imaginations through the process of play. One girl's mud-pie houses compares remarkably to an ancient Egyptian domed dwelling while two children's Tinker toy connected structured bear resemblance to Montreal's Biosphere. Was play like this the inspiration for some of the world's greatest architect ...more
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
This is a book where each set of pages has a concrete poem on the left side of the page and building on the other. It is showing children different building structures, while also giving them an example of concrete poetry.

The book is very nice because the pictures of the building on the right side are actual pictures, while the pictures on the left side are drawn. However the children see how the words in the poem both describe the building and the poems are shaped like th
Oct 10, 2013 Martha rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Marti, Alice, Librariansteph, Elissa
Shelves: k-3-non-fiction
A wonderful introduction to architecture for young children. The pairing of a child's structure such as a cantilevered block building with an image of Frank Lloyd Wrights' "Fallingwater" on the opposite page, describe the concept of this famous house perfectly. The accompanying text is written in concrete poems mirroring the structures. The backmatter of mini biographies about the famous architects who designed the buildings, will provide resources for teachers, and parents to teach children abo ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Tracie rated it liked it
Shelves: picture_books
Through an innovative mix of illustrations and text, this celebration of children at play showcases how imaginative architects use a foundation of simple concepts and materials to create surprising and whimsical structures.

Each two-page spread consists of an illustration of children building and a concrete poem that describes their activity on the left; on the right is a photograph of a real-life structure that echoes the spirit of the illustration.

The narrative is supplemented by information a
Dec 17, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it
What child hasn't dreamed of building a structure that reaches to the sky or even used blocks or plastic forms to try to see just how high the building can go? This inspiring book is sure to prompt young builders to try their hands at building while stretching their imaginations about how to build. The book contains photographs of 15 actual buildings alongside their child-inspired examples. The buildings rane from Maya Lin's Box House in Telluride, Colorado that looks exactly like its name to Fr ...more
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