Common Sense Media says

Learn how, where, and why a mill worked.





What parents need to know

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this story has a Dickensian atmosphere and explains lucidly how a mill worked -- and why.

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What's the story?

David Macaulay stands alone in his descriptive approach to the architecture that surrounds us. MILL is typical of his imaginative and informative approach, as well as his glorious draftsmanship. The large-scale books are also intimate, and readers will leave these pages with not only an understanding of mill life but also a caring appreciation of the people involved.

Is it any good?


Having once read this book, never will you pass an old New England mill without going to take a look at the headrace, or appreciating why it has so many windows, or how come it now houses a software company and a few fancy condos rather than bobbins and spindles.

David Macaulay's architectural drawings have great personality and beauty, and they are models of lucidity. The same can be said for his prose. The combination of illustrations and clear text makes the workings of a power train or a fly-ball governor seem obvious. Macaulay's books are history at its fullest, with threads of architecture, society, economics, politics, and geography all brought together to convey a supple portrait of a time and place.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history surrounding mills. What details surprised you? Would you enjoy working in a mill? If you live in an area with surviving mill buildings, visit them and take a look at how they're used now.

Book details

Author:David Macaulay
Illustrator:David Macaulay
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 2000
Number of pages:128
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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