cover image Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland into a Home

Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland into a Home

Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Christopher Silas Neal. Calkins Creek, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62979-440-2

An obsession with shapes serves as a leitmotif as Frank Lloyd Wright (1867–1959) grows to be a master architect. In Rosenstock’s telling, his aesthetic was rooted in a childhood love of his Wisconsin prairie home’s natural geometries (“oval milkweed seeds, six-sided honeycombs, and triangle-faced badgers”) and his fascination with blocks. Wright’s awareness of spatial forms leads to his feeling that “the old European-style houses didn’t fit America’s landscape,” so he strikes out on his own, designing radically different buildings. “In Frank’s houses, people stood on shapes, sat on shapes, slept on shapes. They looked through shapes, ate off shapes, played by shape-light.” Neal’s stylized illustrations are geometrically anchored, with crisp lines and shapes that occasionally echo Wright’s signature patterning, and the earnest, informative narrative centers the subject’s relatable interests. Substantial supplemental materials include an author’s note, sources, and multiple photos of his work, where, “like magic, he shook dozens of shapes from his shirtsleeves.” Ages 7–10. (Sept.)