Cover image for Building the book Cathedral
Building the book Cathedral
Macaulay, David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
Physical Description:
112 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 36 cm
General Note:
"Walter Lorraine books."
Reading Level:
1070 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 7.5 1.0 48402.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.9 5 Quiz: 24715 Guided reading level: NR.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA4830 .M317 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA4830 .M317 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
NA4830 .M317 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NA4830 .M317 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Oversize
NA4830 .M317 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



It has been twenty-six years since the publication of CATHEDRAL. David Macaulay's first book, CATHEDRAL, introduced readers around the world to his unique gift for presenting architecture and technology in simple terms, and for demystifying even the most complex of concepts. CATHEDRAL received a Caldecott Honor Medal and is now considered a classic. BUILDING THE BOOK CATHEDRAL includes the content of CATHEDRAL in its entirety. Here Macaulay traces the evolution of his creative process in "building" that first book, from the initial concept to the finished drawings. He introduces the basic elements of structure and sequence and explains why one angle of a drawing may be better for conveying an idea than another. He describes how perspective, scale, and contrast can be used to connect a reader with concepts, and how placement of a picture on a page can make a difference in the way information is communicated. Building the Book Cathedral provides an opportunity to examine Macaulay'sunique problem-solving skills as he looks back over two and a half decades at the book that launched his distinguished career.

Author Notes

David Macaulay was born on December 2, 1946 in Lancashire, England, but moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey when he was 11. He received a bachelor's degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Before becoming an author and illustrator, he worked as an interior designer, a junior high school teacher, and instructor of interior design at RISD from 1969 to 1973.

His first book, Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction, was published in 1973. His other books include City, Castle, Pyramid, Mill, Underground, Mosque, The Way Things Work, Rome Antics, Shortcut,and How Machines Work. He has received numerous awards including a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1991 for Black and White and the Washington Children's Book Guild Award for a Body of Non-Fiction Work in 1977. He won the Royal Society young people¿s book prize for the best science books for children for his book How Machines Work.

(Bowker Author Biography) David Macauley is the author & illustrator of many exciting & unusual books for readers of all ages, including, "The New Way Things Work." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, & clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. Whether chronicling the monumental achievements of past civilizations or satirizing modern architecture, he is concerned above all with how constructions are made & what their effects are on people & their lives. He lives in Rhode Island.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. In this oversize volume, Macaulay looks back at the first of his many popular children's books, the Caldecott Honor Book Cathedral (1973). He describes how he came to write the book (he initially wanted to do one on gargoyles) and takes readers step-by-step through the process. He shows his early drawings and handwritten first draft and discusses many of the changes he made. This is not, however, just a new version of Cathedral. It is also a book about bookmaking, containing many humorous self-deprecating asides: "On a good day, the design of a page doesn't change much from the earliest sketch to the finished illustration. Unfortunately, there aren't that many good days." There are pencil sketches, ink drawings, and photos, along with the finished, detailed pictures. This will be a fascinating companion to the first book, especially for Macaulay fans and future artists and writers. Older readers, including adults, who know Macaulay may be interested as well. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5 Up-This 25th-anniversary visit to Cathedral (Houghton, 1973) is a special treat for all those who were captivated by the book the first time around and a fascinating tour of how the book was made for new and old fans alike. Macaulay retells the original story and adds numerous changes as he leads a tour of the cathedral of Chutreaux. Readers learn where the research was done and what it is like to work against deadlines. Many drawings are moved to a different page; on some, the scale has been altered and there are editorial notes and original sketches scattered on the cover and throughout this 112-page remake. Hindsight allows the author to make seemingly minute but important changes. It presents him with the opportunity to explain why certain sketches look just so; why there is a bird sitting in the rafters on one page, and how an error with a rope and a wheel on the following page came about. Macaulay's sense of humor adds a nice balance. This is an insider's view, offering a peek over the shoulder as author/illustrator creates a masterpiece and fine tunes his craft. For anyone interested in drawing, bookmaking, cathedrals, or minutia of the Middle Ages, this is a real delight.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.