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Palazzo Inverso

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  138 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Mauk, mischievous apprentice to the master architect, must not draw on the plans for the new Palazzo. But by turning the plans a bit each day, he finds a way to alter them, turning the master’s creation onto its head! Discover what mystery and excitement a small change of perspective has brought to the Palazzo.

In this M.C. Escher-inspired masterpiece, D.B. Johnson pushes t
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 3rd 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 196)
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Amy Adams
Oct 10, 2012 Amy Adams rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Based on a series of Escher artwork, this book explores what happens when a boy turns an architect's plans upside-down! I like the way the book is designed--you read it up-side-up, then you read it up-side-down! It's fun to see how the pictures seen to change as you go back through the book. It's also interesting to see the Escher art scattered throughout. I'm not sure how kids would respond to it. I think they would like the creativity and the topsy-turvy aspects, but I think they might get los ...more
Teresa Garrett
Nov 22, 2010 Teresa Garrett rated it liked it
Interesting idea read the book one way then flip it over and read it back. Might prove to be very confusing for some students while others will love the idea. The story is weak as it had to fit the story line in both directions and sometimes it felt like a stretch. It is a homage to M.C. Escher but few elementary children may know who he is so a lot of front loading may be necessary. Reminded me of Round Trip by Ann Jonas similar type of book.
Klaudia Janek
Jan 06, 2014 Klaudia Janek rated it really liked it
Shelves: libres
Recommended[return][return]This story is definitely inspired by M.C. Escher. The main characters name is Mauk, which was actually Escher’s nickname. The Author’s Note has a short biography about Escher. Basically, Mauk wakes up and is late, so he has to run to his Master. His Master is an architect and Mauk is the apprentice. Things look different that particular morning and it takes Mauk a while to figure out that up is down and down is up. Master is angry that the Palazzo is not right. Mauk ha ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Supar rated it really liked it
Palazzo Inverso is a Picture book about a little boy who helps the master with his project of building the "Palazzo" During the book you find out that the little boy accidently moved the picture upside down and you would have to flip around the book to see both sides of the picture. the pages were designed to be to ways. the boy likes the new "Palazzo Inverso" and goes to bed.

I picked up the book the way people are not supposed to, by its cover. the picture caught my eye and i grabbed it and fli
Victoria Whipple
Nov 07, 2010 Victoria Whipple rated it liked it
Shelves: tcp, art
Mauk's master is designing and building a new palace. Mauk is a good helper, and does what he is expected to do and more. Sometimes, when everyone else is busy doing something, he adds to the plans for the palace. It looks good on paper, but doesn't work as well as conventional wisdom would hope in reality. The book reads from front to back, then back to front (thus the inverso). On the second reading the book is flipped over to look at the pictures upside down. The mixed media illustrations are ...more
Katie Logonauts
May 18, 2015 Katie Logonauts rated it really liked it
This incredibly clever and complex picture book is an ode to the work of M.C. Escher, and the book itself is a convoluted Möbius strip of a story that turns in on itself and is read front-to-back-to-front again. I am a bigger Escher fan and was quite astounded at how this whole book came together. Definitely one that will fascinate the visual among us!
Apr 25, 2011 Carmen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade
Recommended to Carmen by: Sue Lay
Palazzo Inverso is inspired by M.C. Escher drawings and is a delightfully playful introduction to the artist. Mauk, a builder's apprentice, has meddled with the blueprints for a magnificent palace, resulting in a building where up is down and down is up. What is going to happen to Mauk and the palace?

To read this book, start with the black text at the bottom of each page, then at the end turn the book over to read the gray text that runs along the "top." Illustrations correspond to the text whet
Jenny Young
Jul 07, 2011 Jenny Young rated it it was amazing
Grades 2-4


art; illusions

Illustrations were created with mixed media.

Personal response:
Loved this book! I thought the optical illusions in the book were fantastic. The book is fun to read because it is first read all on the bottom of each page but then the story takes a turn (literally) and you read the rest of the book by turning in upside down and you end up back at the beginning of the story! So much fun! And the illustrations correlate to the sto
Sep 17, 2014 Garren rated it liked it
An Escher-based book which is read normally to the halfway point at the end of the book, then flipped to read the story with reversed and inverted illustrations? Yes, the world needed this to exist.
Lynn Plourde
May 19, 2014 Lynn Plourde rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebook
Clever text on the bottom of the pages tells the story; and then when you get to the end, you flip the book and the story continues upside down and it MAKES SENSE! (even the illustrations =)
Mar 11, 2014 Melanie rated it liked it
Illustrations in Escher-style, you read this book normally and then at the end flip the book upside down to finish the story with the same illustrations upside down. Love the uniqueness of it.
Ohmygosh! What a cool book! Anyone who loves Escher, crazy jumps in perspective, and optical illusions will enjoy this story, in which each illustration can be "read" again a different way once you reach the end of the book and follow the text upside down to read again in reverse order. If you've ever seen Escher's work "Ascending and Descending," you have some idea of this twist. Stairs go down and up at the same time.

Would be interesting paired with the reversible verse book Mirror Mirror.
Jul 18, 2010 Maria rated it really liked it
My friend's dad wrote this book which may bias me a little but... I think it is pretty fascinating. You read the first half of the story in one direction then flip it and read it in the other and the pictures work with the story going in both directions. It's pretty amazing and the artwork is beautiful. I looked at a review and realized that the book can be turned at any point and the words still work, so now I can't wait to read it again and try flipping the story at different parts. So imagina ...more
Miss Ryoko
Aug 19, 2011 Miss Ryoko rated it really liked it
This is a very creative and clever book! Inspired by the art of M.C Escher, Johnson has created a fun and different way to read a children's book. The story starts as a regular story but once you reach the end, you must turn your book upside down and continue to read the story back to the beginning. I love how the pictures worked both ways for each part of the story and I especially loved how the book tied together in the end with it starting with the beginning again. A very neat, unique childre ...more
The Brothers
Feb 19, 2016 The Brothers rated it it was amazing
A very fun book full of Escher-esque drawings about an apprentice to an builder getting in trouble for messing with the plans. You read it all the way through and then flip the book over and read it back to see how the story goes.

Fascinating, fun illustrations.
Apr 20, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
Used in STEM Storytime on Building, Winter 2013.

Illustrations in black, white, sepia tones, with staircases that recall the paintings of M.C. Escher . . . what is up and what is down? The text reads from left to right across the bottom . . . until you reach the last page, then you must turn the book around to continue the story, reading from the end back to the beginning. The children loved the playing with perspective.
Using Escher's reflective drawings as inspiration, D.B. Johnson creates the Palazzo Inverso-- an upside-down palace--with stairways running the wrong direction and people walking on the ceiling.

Readers follow the story one way, then turn the book upside down and read it back to the beginning again. A clever idea, which suffers in the implementation. The drawings are bland and grainy and the story uninteresting.
Based on M.C. Escher's artwork--very very cool pictures. The book is turned upside down at the "end" of the book to continue with the story, and the pictures are drawn in such a way that the flip-side of the art works with the second half of the story just as well as the first half.
Jan 17, 2011 Dianna rated it really liked it
You read the whole book . . . and then you turn it upside-down and read it backwards. Genius! The illustrations were lots of fun. The story was a bit lacking, especially in the first half, but it still worked out.
Oct 22, 2013 Phillip rated it liked it
This book could be subtitled as "At Play in the World of M. C. Escher." The clever use of image and text serve as an imaginative introduction to the dimensional illusions Escher is known for.
Tina Bartholoma
Jul 20, 2010 Tina Bartholoma rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
magic eye tricks, architecture, perspective, all illustrations in sepia tone; I loved it when you get to the back of the book turn it over and keep reading back to the front.
Jun 17, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Read from front to back, then turn book upside down and read from back to front. An interesting story with illustrations based on Escher's designs.
Jan 14, 2013 Jen rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb
great introduction to M.C. Escher in his style. The story's purpose is to provide interesting situations for the pictures.
Diana Hanke
Sep 08, 2010 Diana Hanke rated it really liked it
The artwork and various choices in story links and directions gives this book its appeal. An intriguing way to read a story.
Mattathias Westwood
Absolutely brilliant. This is so well played on so many levels. The best possible adaptation of Escher's works.
Dec 02, 2010 Marcie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Marcie by: Shelly @ Bookies
Similar to Ann Jonas' round trip, but much more sophisticated. Love the art style and nod to M.C. Escher
Amy Carr
Jul 24, 2010 Amy Carr rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book
Thought the art in the book (an ode to M.C. Escher) was very interesting but hated the random story.
This is a fun book that riffs on ideas put forth by M.C Escher. You get to the end and it starts all over.
Mar 03, 2011 Kate rated it it was amazing
M.C. Escher style illustrations and a story that you read forward and then backwards. Loved it!!
Rusty Gregory
Mar 05, 2013 Rusty Gregory rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Interesting book. I don't think it is for younger readers but I do appreciate the ode to MCE.
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