David Macaulay (b. 1946) is an award winning author and illustrator. Born in England, his family moved to America when he was eleven.
His books are known for combining a whimsical sense of humor with a lavish attention to detail, often dealing with subjects such as architecture, archaeology, and technology. For instance, The Way Things Work explains the inner workings of various common appliances, but also shows how they were supposedly developed by angels and sentient woolly mammoths.
Works by David Macaulay with pages on this wiki include:
Tropes in David Macaulay's other works:
- Animal Is the New Man: In Baaa, sheep gain sentience and take over the world after mankind dies out. Their society quickly develops a lot of the same problems that drove human society extinct, with overpopulation, poverty, and a severe food shortage. Fortunately, the sheep leaders develop a new food product called "Baaa" that conveniently solves all three of those problems at once... Eventually this drives the sheep extinct as well.
- Art Shift: The Caldecott-winning Black And White tells four overlapping stories simultaneously, mostly about cows, using four markedly different styles of illustration.
- Bittersweet Ending: In Roman City, Marcus is honored and promoted by Caesar for his city design, and Aiden crying out the warning that stopped Caesar from being assassinated saw her and her father being raised to the level of Roman citizens. Even Licinius gets to stop being a slave and retire with a pension that'll let him buy a villa. Alas, Marcus's new job means he has to move to Phoenicia, leaving Aiden (to whom he'd planned to propose) behind.
- Landmark Sale: Played quite literally in Unbuilding, in which a rich middle eastern prince actually buys the Empire State Building, and has it disassembled piece by piece and shipped overseas to be built as a landmark in his home country. Then the trope is subverted in that the buyer turns out to be the real con artist. At the end of the book, the ship carrying the pieces of the Empire State Building mysteriously sinks in the Atlantic. The prince then collects on an insurance policy that he had taken out on it - a policy worth far more than what he had paid for the building.
- One-Word Title: His architecture books tend to be titled this way, with examples including Castle, Cathedral, Pyramid, City, Underground, Unbuilding, Mosque, Ship, Mill....
- Scenery Porn: Expect to see absolutely gorgeous pen-and-ink illustrations of architecture in every book.
- Sewer Gator: An Easter Egg in the book Underground, which shows a cutaway view of a major city's infrastructure, shows an alligator hanging out in the sewer pipes.
- Shown Their Work: Macaulay spends years researching his books, and boy does it show on the page. He started out getting a degree in architecture.
- Technology Marches On: The Way Things Work (1988) was republished as The New Way Things Work in 1998 with an expanded section on computers. Then it was reissued again as The Way Things Work Now in 2016.