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Looking at Liberty
     

Looking at Liberty

by Harvey Stevenson
 

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Who is she?

Where did she come from?

How was she made?

1869 -- from the drawing board of the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, a vision comes to life in the form of a grand monument honoring the friendship between France and America and the principle of liberty that binds them together.

This is a story of the determination and energy of the many

Overview

Who is she?

Where did she come from?

How was she made?

1869 -- from the drawing board of the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, a vision comes to life in the form of a grand monument honoring the friendship between France and America and the principle of liberty that binds them together.

This is a story of the determination and energy of the many who believed in this vision and collaborated to build what became an inspiration to millions. From the earliest sketches to her glorious stand as a universal symbol of freedom, follow the statue's journey from the dusty ateliers of Paris, across the Atlantic, to her celebrated arrival in New York.

Through poignant verse and dramatic paintings, Harvey Stevenson tells the timeless tale behind America's most celebrated symbol of democracy -- the Statue of Liberty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stevenson's (Little Rabbit Goes to Sleep) lush, arrestingly composed paintings immediately draw youngsters into this lyrical tribute to the Statue of Liberty. In the opening spread, a child gazes up at the monument as the narrative reads, "Your bright eyes looking up/ may wonder why/ she's standing against the sky,/ and what her silent story might be." As the lilting verse sketches an impressionistic history of the statue from its conception to its installation ("She's got friendship in her./ A French sculptor's hopes...."), occasional prose passages at the bottom of the pages provide a factual overview of the planning, construction and impact of the monument. Children may find some of the references obscure, e.g., "She's made of plaster dust in sweating men's hair"; and "The flying red-hot iron rivets made her,/ as did the scaffolding and buckets." Stevenson's evocatively lit paintings impart a sense of the statue's impressive scale, particularly when they show men building its various sections. Especially memorable are the images of a frigate steaming across the Atlantic, carrying the pieces of the statue to America as the sunset vividly paints sky and sea; and a close-up view of the erected monument's upper torso and crowned head, glowing in reflected light. While not effervescent (like Allan Drummond's Liberty!), this is nonetheless an affectionate and graceful portrait of Lady Liberty. Pair it with Lynn Curlee's Liberty for a comprehensive look at her history and construction. Ages 4-7. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
If you wonder about the Statue of Liberty, "Look closely," Stevenson suggests, to discover the story behind her. Poetically he fills in background on the double pages, while some facts are detailed below. "She's made of frustration and of persistence," as she is hammered together in Paris, and "of the clink of chisels on pink Connecticut granite" as her base rises in New York harbor. When she finally arrives and is assembled, she stands to welcome immigrants to "a place that is new, and where everything is possible." The double-page, naturalistic but a bit impressionistic paintings depict the creation of the statue from many perspectives and in various stages. Collectively they create the temporal sequence from drawing board to ultimate placement on her pedestal. We see the immigrants she is welcoming as they crowd a ship's rail to stare and dream. This is a romantic, hopeful vision of this powerful American icon. A time line and bibliography are included. 2003, HarperCollins Publishers,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-A painterly and poetic look at the creation of the Statue of Liberty and its place in the hearts of two nations. The illustrations are lovely; the text is sometimes mysterious, if not downright mushy: "She's made of plaster dust in sweating men's hair"; "She's made of newspaper ink and excitement,/and of preparations for her arrival"; "She's got coal smoke in her./And the rough ocean's salty spray./And Atlantic sunsets off her bow" (actually, that last line may be about the ship that is bringing the statue to America; the antecedent pronoun is unclear). Sporadic footnotes offer a more concrete if occasionally trivial collection of factoids ("After celebrations in Paris, the statue was carefully taken apart and packed into 214 large wooden crates") and almost factoids ("In the winter of 1869, the sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi could have been found drawing plans late into the night"). Although the poetry and history are spotty, the feeling of the era and the immensity of the actual construction are beautifully portrayed. Pair this book with Lynn Curlee's Liberty (Atheneum, 2000) or Eleanor Coerr's The Lady with a Torch (Harper & Row, 1986; o.p.) or Betsy Maestro's The Story of the Statue of Liberty (Lothrop, 1986) for more factual information (and some spectacular art, especially Curlee's). Add Delno and Jean West's Uncle Sam and Old Glory (Atheneum, 2000) to extend and enrich the discussion of American symbols of the American nation.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A highly metaphorical account of the creation and installation of the Statue of Liberty furnishes plenty of poetic and patriotic fervor but little objective substance. Addressing a hypothetical child looking up at the statue, heightened language enjoins readers to "[l]isten to the wind against her and you may hear the sounds of ropes pulled taut and creaking wood, and wind-filled canvas;" the occasional explication appears below in a smaller typeface, explaining that sculptor "Bartholdi traveled from France to America to explain what he hoped to build. . . . " Monumental illustrations, mostly full-bleed, double-paged spreads, track the building, display, transportation, and installation of the Statue, expanding the poetic text in fine fashion. The illustrations are almost too reverential, but the occasional inspired spread leavens the tone, as in one illustration of busy roofers hammering the gargantuan copper toes of Lady Liberty. Unfortunately, there is no such leavening for the language, which, although beautiful, inevitably succumbs to sentiment: "[A]s people�s dreams awakened around her, the love and the hope she must have felt!" This emotional manipulation renders the offering just another piece of propaganda, however artfully done. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060001001
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/03/2003
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Harvey Stevenson attended Trinity College in Connecticut and the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he later worked as an art director in advertising. He now lives in Paris, France with his wife and son.

Harvey Stevenson attended Trinity College in Connecticut and the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he later worked as an art director in advertising. He now lives in Paris, France with his wife and son.

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