The mills at Wicksbridge are imaginary, but their planning, construction, and operation are quite typical of mills developed in New England throughout the nineteenth century.
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In Mill, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, David Macaulay pays tribute to the historically important mills of 19th-century New England. Using close-up pen-and-ink illustrations, Macaulay thoroughly explains the Yankee ingenuity that went into the elaborate process of running machines that were generated by the flow of water. In the case of this cotton mill in the imaginary town of Wicksbridge, Macaulay also demonstrates how important the mill was to a community's economic and social viability. In one scene, he shows the men and women celebrating the framing of the mill with a festive, barn-raising-style party. Macaulay tracks the mill's history, expertly explaining how all its new fixtures and materials reflect the political and industrial changes in the country. For example, in 1852 the owner sides with his abolitionist wife and shuns the use of "Negro cloth," inexpensive cloth made from slave-picked cotton. Instead he decides to start producing multi-colored, finer fabrics--a decision that leads to the expansion of the mill and the introduction of the steam engine. This is a finely woven offering, filled with technical intricacies and intriguing historical details. But ultimately, Macaulay's Mill is generated by the human story that led to the building of New England's cotton mills--as well as their eventual demise. (Ages 9 and older) --Gail HudsonAbout the Author:
David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.
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