Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore

Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore

by Tina Nichols Coury, Sally Wern Comport
     
 

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Growing up in the shadow of Mount Rushmore

Lincoln Borglum was a young boy when his father, the great sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested to a group of South Dakota businessmen that he should carve the faces of four presidents into a side of a mountain as an attraction for tourists. But Mount Rushmore would never be finished by Gutzon. It would be his son

Overview

Growing up in the shadow of Mount Rushmore

Lincoln Borglum was a young boy when his father, the great sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested to a group of South Dakota businessmen that he should carve the faces of four presidents into a side of a mountain as an attraction for tourists. But Mount Rushmore would never be finished by Gutzon. It would be his son who would complete the fourteen-year task and present America with one of its most iconic symbols.

A California Reading Association Eureka! Honor Book Award-winner

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The giant faces carved on Mount Rushmore were designed by Gutzon Borglum. Coury tells the story of his son, Lincoln, without whom the monument might never have been completed. The lengthy test begins with Borglum's idea of honoring the presidents by carving a mountain in South Dakota. The work starts in 1927. Young Lincoln helps when he can with the massive project, through storms, ice, and snow, learning every aspect of the job. By 1938, his father moves on to other projects, leaving Lincoln at 26 in charge of all construction. When his father dies in 1941, Lincoln is allowed to try to complete the work. By October 31, it is finished and Lincoln is appointed the first superintendent of the monument. We are impressed by the size of the sculpture on the jacket, as a worker swings from the nose of the title. The front end papers depict the stony challenge that Borglum confronted; the final end pages display the successful completion. The visual tale in naturalistic double-page scenes is "created from original black-and-white drawings and mixed media layered digital files that are printed in their hybrid state and final paintings rendered in acrylic and pastel." We can see the creative process from inception through the years of labor to the eventual final descent of the carvers. Comport conveys the emotions inherent in each stage of the drama while informing us of the enormity of the task. A brief bibliography is included. It should be noted that there has been criticism of how the book deals with the treatment of the Lakotas and the character of Gutzon Borglum. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—What would it be like to be the son of the man who was the sculptor of Mount Rushmore? Lincoln Borglum was only 12 when his father took the commission. As he grew up, he learned about every aspect of the project, and eventually, at age 26, became the superintendent under his father. When Ghutzon Borglum died suddenly from complications of surgery, Lincoln was ready to step in and bring the project to a satisfying conclusion. This slightly fictionalized narrative of Borglum's life is engaging and informative. Coury includes details about how the monument was made, working conditions, equipment, and techniques. Although this is a biography, there is as much information about how the mountain was actually sculpted as in Judith Jango-Cohen's Mount Rushmore (Lerner, 2011) or Dana Meachem Rau's Mount Rushmore (Compass Point, 2002). Comport's acrylic and pastel illustrations do a good job of capturing the spirit of the text. The pictures of the mountain and scenery seem almost photorealistic, while the people are slightly less detailed and more stylized. The difference reinforces the grandeur and permanence of the sculpture while portraying the varying emotions of the people. This is an interesting biography with good curriculum tie-in potential.—Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews
You're a dutiful son; your father, renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum, designed the presidential monuments on Mount Rushmore. You finish the job when your father dies, but history will ignore you. This book's aim is to rectify history's misstep. It takes readers from Lincoln Borglum's shy childhood to the beginning of the project in 1927, when he was a teen, and on through its completion 14 years later. Lincoln was deeply involved, working at many grueling tasks alongside hundreds of crewmen. Readers learn that Gutzon designed a Hall of Records, never constructed, to be built behind the sculptures. They also discover that Jefferson's head was once carved on a different site on the mountain but had to be demolished and reconstructed elsewhere. Lincoln did swing under a president's nose, although, despite the title, the author doesn't confirm it was Jefferson's. Mount Rushmore commemorates four presidents; this serviceably written book memorializes the younger Borglum. Lincoln is sympathetic, and readers will be glad he enjoyed future success, described in an afterword. The acrylic-and-pastel paintings are rendered in earth and muted tones and give a sense of the monument's scale. The final endpapers depict the four presidents; younger children would benefit from their being identified. A mostly outdated, seemingly child-unfriendly bibliography is unhelpful. Much has been written for children about Mount Rushmore. While this isn't a must-have, it offers a new approach to this landmark. (Picture book/biography 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803737310
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/10/2012
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
206,551
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1030L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Tina Nichols Coury—also known as The Rushmore Kid—is an artist and author who spent several years researching this book.

Sally Wern Comport has received numerous honors, including The Society of Illustrators,Communication Arts, Print magazine, How magazine, and many Addy awards. She has illustrated several books for young readers.

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