Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Modern Wonders of the World: Eiffel Tower

Modern Wonders of the World: Eiffel Tower

Nate LeBoutillier
For ages 8 to 10
The Creative Company, 2007   ISBN: 978-1583414385

Following the Franco-Prussian war in which they were ignominiously beaten, the French were feeling very battered and in need of something which would restore their national pride. The French government decided that it would hold a Universal Exposition of the Products of Industry in 1889. For this event they wanted to build a 1000 foot (305 meter) tower-like structure which would show the world that they, the French people, were still capable of creating marvelous things.

A competition was held to find the best design and Gustave Eiffel won the competition with his plans for a unique looking (and less expensive) tower which would be built out of iron. Having created plans for numerous bridges, Eiffel was very familiar with working with iron and creating structures that were strong, safe, and long lasting. His tower had the additional advantage of having lots of metal scrollwork in the design which would make his creation beautiful to look at.

Despite protests from the artistic and literary community work began on the tower in the summer of 1887. In addition to being stunning to look at, the tower would have three observation towers so that visitors could admire the view from various heights. After a few glitches the tower was completed in March of 1889 and was ready to be visited. Officials of the Exposition were invited to climb the tower which took half hour if you climbed all the steps (more than 1500 of them) to the top observation deck. The tower was opened to the public in May of that year and in just the first week 50,000 people paid to climb to the various observation decks.

Not surprisingly, the Eiffel tower is now considered to be a symbol of Paris and of France, and millions of people from all over the world have visited it.

This wonderfully written book truly captures the impact that the Eiffel Tower has had on the world since it was built in the late 1880's. Information packed boxes and annotations compliment the main text and excellent photographs and illustrations can be found throughout the book.

This is one of the titles in the Modern Wonders of the World series.