Cover image for Johann Gutenberg and the amazing printing press
Johann Gutenberg and the amazing printing press
Koscielniak, Bruce.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm
A history of the modern printing industry, including how paper and ink are made, looking particularly at the printing press invented by Gutenberg around 1450 but also at its precursors.
Reading Level:
AD 1240 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.6 0.5 73487.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 7.6 3 Quiz: 36473 Guided reading level: Z.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z126 .K58 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Z126 .K58 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Biography
Z126 .K58 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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If a book was published 600 years ago, it would have been copied out by hand by a scribe in a monastery and probably would have taken months to produce. But thanks to Johann Gutenberg in the fifteenth century, modern printing was born and nowadays it can take only a few seconds to print a book. Gutenberg invented the printing press as well as a new type of ink and a new way to cast type.

Learn the incredible story of Johann Gutenberg and the history of early printing and publishing.

Author Notes

Bruce Koscielniak is the author and illustrator of several books for children; he is also a musician who has played the violin and jazz guitar for many years. He lives in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-5. The art and practicality of bookmaking get an attractive treatment in this fully illustrated volume, which provides a clear, concise history up to the time of Gutenberg's press. Though this spotlights Johann Gutenberg as an innovator who developed a way of casting metal type, a linseed-based ink, and a press to allow the transfer of inked letters to paper, the book also looks at printing with moveable type as it had developed much earlier in China and Korea. An explanation of the techniques and expense of labor-intensive book production in medieval Europe sets the stage for a good, brief description of Gutenberg's contributions and experiences as a printer. The pleasing line drawings and the subtle hues of Boscielniak's watercolors give the illustrations an informal look that makes their informative content all the more accessible. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

The title notwithstanding, Koscielniak (The Story of the Incredible Orchestra) offers not so much a history of the printing press as a history of the book itself. Less than half the pages are devoted to Gutenberg, about whom little is known, and who died in 1468. Koscielniak camouflages this gap with imaginative evocations of the printing pioneer's workrooms and by emphasizing his technological innovations: an easier way to make metal type, better ink and a press that applied pressure evenly. A long background section explains printing and paper development, beginning in second-century China (passages such as "Pi Sheng, a Chinese printer, had the idea to use separate, coin-thin, fired-clay characters, which were pasted with tree resin and wax in rows on an iron plate" may confuse younger readers, despite abundant illustrations). The book's own blocks of print are surrounded by a wealth of spirited, loosely drawn ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations, colored with pleasingly muted shades and accompanied by enthusiastic explanatory notes ("A willow or other stick cut with a flat tip can be used with ink to produce Gothic-style writing. Try it!"). The discussion of the specifics of book-making, from compositing type to sewing together signatures, may be too densely detailed for some, but motivated readers will come away with an understanding of the general process and with an appreciation for the man saluted at the end as "Mr. G." Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-With an emphasis on Gutenberg and his work, this easy-to-read and informative text explores the history of printing, from the invention of paper in China in the year 105 to the development of different types in the late 1400s. Watercolor illustrations are both detailed and entertaining. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.