It is nearly a decade since Iggy Peck, Architect was first published and it seems our love affair with Iggy has not waned.

This quirky children’s picture book, written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts, has fun with the magic of self-expression, collaboration and creative drive.

The premise of the story is quite simple. Iggy is an architect and has been since he was two. He designs a marvellous mixture of architectural marvels, built from nappies, chalk sticks or dirt clods.

His imagination knows no bounds until his second grade teacher, Miss Lila Greer (clearly architecture-scarred as a child), enters the scene – crushing his artistic spirit with her distaste for all things architecture. However, an incident on a school excursion allows the turtleneck-clad Iggy to redeem himself and, eventually, redeem the virtues of design and ingenuity in Miss Greer’s eyes.

The idea of well-executed children’s books focused on areas of design and making is certainly captivating. It is undoubtedly a niche market, a largely untapped one if our recent search for children’s books for the APDL design collection is anything to go by.

I believe the strength of the book is based largely on Beaty’s clever rhyming story of archi-nerd makes good while Roberts’ visual interpretation of the tale is inspired (apparently in part by British artist David Hockney).

It came as no surprise to learn London-based Roberts studied fashion design at Manchester Metropolitan University. He worked as a milliner and as a fashion illustrator, which clearly comes to the fore in his delightful modernist-style illustrations. Iggy and the characters that surround him make a sartorially elegant crew – think perfectly coiffed chignons, signature street shoes and floor length patio gowns.

I asked two of my sons to read Iggy and this is what they said:

The eight-year old: “I really liked it. It was cool how he made the Leaning Tower of Pizza (sic) out of diapers and glue.”

However, it was the 14-year old’s view which was the most insightful and amusing: “Mum, seriously. This book is not going to make you an architect.”

And he’s right. What this book will do is broaden a child’s view of a somewhat insular world and let them know that an innate creative spirit can never truly be crushed.

Iggy Peck, Architect is available in the APDL Design Lounge, located on level 2 of the State Library of Queensland. You may borrow it if you are an SLQ member.

This book is part of our evolving children’s collection which we are currently expanding for our little designer community.

References

Andrea Beaty

David Roberts

Anita Lewis

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