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Fallingwater: The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece

Our Price: $19.99
Pages: 40
Trim: 11.1 x 8.9
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-59643-718-0

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The Building of Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece

by Marc Harshman and Anna Smucker

In Bear Run, Pennsylvania, a home unlike any other perches atop a waterfall. The water's tune plays differently in each of its sunlight-dappled rooms; the structure itself blends effortlessly into the rock and forest behind it. This is Fallingwater, a masterpiece equally informed by meticulous research and unbounded imagination, designed by the lauded American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
This book guides readers through Wright's process designing Fallingwater, from his initial inspirations to the home's breathtaking culmination. It is a exploration of a man, of dreams, and of the creative process; a celebration of potential. Graceful prose and rich, dynamic illustrations breathe life into the story of Frank and Fallingwater, a man and home utterly unlike any other.

A warm tribute to the creative genius and style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this picture book takes readers through his process of designing and building the famous home Fallingwater, which helped revive his stalled career, in the 1930s. Harshman (One Big Family) and Smucker (Brother Giovanni’s Little Reward) deliver an often lyrical narration of Fallingwater’s progression. From its inspiration in nature to the sweeping, finished house that sits above a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania, the dwelling is “A house like no other,/ where sun can shine,/ where balconies fly,/ where falling water/ is heard from every room.” The spare text and Pham’s energetic illustrations advance the story steadily. Wright drafts a concept design on deadline as nervous assistants look on; later, builders “Pry and dig and lift,/ stone upon stone upon stone./ Choose and fit and stack,/ stone upon stone upon stone.” Earth tones and blue hues evoke the calm grandeur of the finished, futuristic-looking structure as it soars out and over the waterfall. Author and illustrator notes flesh out additional details about the now-conserved public attraction. Ages 7–10.

This beautifully rendered picture book is a testimonial to the creative genius of Frank Lloyd Wright and his Fallingwater, an amazing structure built directly over a waterfall. Readers are pulled in immediately by the traditional “Once upon a time” opening, and the story is told in present tense as Wright takes months dreaming, imagining, and finally realizing his daring, unique project: "A house like no other, where sun can shine, where balconies fly, where falling water is heard in every room." The meticulously accurate illustrations show developing events in muted earth tones that mirror the colors of the interior and exterior of the house, while Wright’s evolving architectural musings appear as sepia-colored backgrounds. Other visual aspects, like passing clouds mimicking the depiction of the water flowing over the waterfall, or Wright’s absorption in a Japanese print as he first considers the commission, add nuance. The text effortlessly provides insights into Wright’s thinking, his choice of materials, and how his final results reflect their counterparts in nature. Like Fallingwater, a home that breathtakingly blends innovative architecture and its natural surroundings, this book seamlessly blends together a good story, lyrical language, and deft, supporting artwork. This affectionate tribute should appeal to a very wide audience.

About the Authors
Marc Harshman’s collection of poems, Believe What You Can (West Virginia University Press), and his thirteenth children’s book, One Big Family (Eerdmans), were both published in 2017. His monthly show for West Virginia Public Radio, “The Poetry Break,” began airing in 2016. He was also an invited reader at the 2016 Greenwich Book Festival in London and is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.
Anna Egan Smucker is the author of several children's books, including No Star Nights, winner of the International Reading Association Children's Book Award. In addition to writing, reading, and doing author presentations, she loves to hike in the beautiful mountains of her home state of West Virginia.
LeUyen Pham worked in animation before turning to children's books. She has previously written and illustrated The Bear Who Wasn't There and is the illustrator of numerous other picture books including The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman. She lives and works in San Francisco, California, with her husband and her two adorable sons, Leo and Adrian.