There is no one like David Macaulay.
His picture book Black and White won the Caldecott medal for it’s unique split-screen storytelling (four narratives play out side-by-side, leaving the reader to discover how they all converge). Yet many people don’t think of this book when they hear Macaulay’s name—his nonfiction work takes center stage.
It all began with Cathedral (available through SearchOhio). The book follows the entire process of how a cathedral is constructed—something that personally fascinated Macaulay. After all, he came from a family that was always making things, so he got to see firsthand the intricacies of construction. He studied architecture, but ultimately decided against it as a career path. Instead, he did work in interior design and commercial illustration, until Cathedral launched him into the picture book world.
Of course, “picture book” might bring to mind a simple story with simple pictures, and Macaulay’s nonfiction work is anything but simple. Each subject that he chooses to explore is meticulously researched and meticulously drawn. He leads readers step-by-step through the unseen mechanisms and processes of our world—from grand, ancient structures to the smallest inner workings of a smartphone. His technical precision is matched by his truly astounding artistic skill.
David Macaulay’s inimitable style finds beauty in the details, while remaining engaging for readers of all ages. Borrow one of his books from WPPL to explore architecture, engineering—and art!