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Reviewed by Lois J Wickstrom for Readers' Favorite
Arches to ZigZags: An Architectural ABC written by Michael J. Crosbie and photographed by Steve at Kit Rosenthal is a tour-de-force. It has sharp photographs of architectural details for every letter of the alphabet. Before reading this book I didn’t know that the strong blocks on the corners of buildings are called Quoin, or that the top-to-bottom X’s on some skyscrapers are called X-bracing. Some of the choices are unusual, like Neon for the letter N. Or Stone Urns for the letter U. And others are just plain fun, like Gargoyles for G, and Finials for F. I’d never seen a Capital on a Column with Corn before. And I hadn’t thought about Ruin as an aspect of architecture but of course it is – it’s what remains after a building is destroyed.
Since the point of alphabet books is to teach the alphabet, Michael J. Crosbie is to be commended for doubling up. His D page is Double Doors. His W page is Widow’s Walk. And his text rhymes. The best part of this book is that it doesn’t just teach the alphabet. It teaches the terms of architecture. It even goes into aspects of architecture that are only seen during construction like Joists for the letter J and I-Beams for the letter I. Arches to ZigZags: An Architectural ABC by Michael J. Crosbie has clear explanations and pictures of every aspect of architecture that the book teaches. Highly recommended for children who are interested in unusual aspects of buildings, like zigzag designs and arches.