Metal Man

Metal Man

by Aaron Reynolds
     
 

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"There's a fire in me, just like that torch."

Devon visits the Metal Man at his fiery workshop every day, despite the scorching heat of the city where he lives. At the Metal Man's shop, sparks fly from his welding torch as he cuts and melts together old pieces of junk into works of art. Devon is fascinated by the Metal Man's creations. Then one day, the Metal Man

Overview

"There's a fire in me, just like that torch."

Devon visits the Metal Man at his fiery workshop every day, despite the scorching heat of the city where he lives. At the Metal Man's shop, sparks fly from his welding torch as he cuts and melts together old pieces of junk into works of art. Devon is fascinated by the Metal Man's creations. Then one day, the Metal Man lets Devon put his own imagination to work.

Aaron Reynolds's urban voice and the gritty illustrations of Paul Hoppe bring an exciting beat and pulse to the story of a young boy discovering his own voice and vision in art with a kind mentor to lead the way.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Devon is going to see the "Metal Man" at work. In the heat of summer, the man sweats inside his shield as he welds his sculptures from what Devon's mama calls junk. This day, for the first time, when Devon asks to "try somethin'," the man asks, "Whaddya wanna make?" And when Devon answers "a house in a star," they get to work. The man cuts the pieces and welds them together. Then the grinder is "sendin' sparks everywhere, and that metal starts shinin'." Back home, Devon shows off his creation. Mama puts it on display, noting, "Well, it sure ain't junk now." Devon is "seein' things different," thanks to the Metal Man. Hoppe uses mixed media in a rough-and-ready fashion to visualize the energized story. Details are broadly drawn; sparks fly in blue and white flashes. The Metal Man's figure fills double page spreads as he cuts, welds and grinds. Devon seems to grow in stature as his work evolves, and he is biggest of all running home to thrust the piece proudly under his mother's gaze. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4- This unusual picture book is a tribute to a real metal sculptor, Mitch Levin, a friend of the author. Devon, a young African-American boy, loves to watch "Metal Man" create art out of junk in his city workshop. When he envisions a house in a shining star, the sculptor helps him to bring his idea into reality. Beautifully understated, the story is about the capacity of art to empower the artist and to affect how others see the world. The poetic text is visceral-readers experience the sounds, vibrations, textures, and heat of the metal shop. "'Whatcha makin', Metal Man? I say./He don't answer. He never does./'Whaddya see?' That's all he says." The cartoon illustrations, in rusty browns and shiny blues, depict the metal man as tall, strong, gentle, and wise, a larger-than-life hero. He encourages Devon to embrace his own vision, but also protects him from the dangerous tools he is not ready to use. In the space of an afternoon, the youngster grows in understanding and confidence. A wonderful example of sensory writing and colloquial storytelling, this would be an excellent book to read before embarking on art projects, museum trips, art-appreciation lessons, or community-helper units, and will inspire independent readers with a desire to try their own hand at sculpture or artistic creation.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

Kirkus Reviews
It's a hot and sticky city summer day, and Devon knows that metal man Mitch is hard at work. Even though his mama thinks Mitch just makes junk (and needs a real job), Devon finds the acceptance he longs for in Mitch's workshop. "When I hang out with the metal man, I get it right. / I see what I see. / Not like school." Reynolds's free-verse poem overflows with similes, and picture-book readers may find it difficult to follow along, but Hoppe's kinetic mixed-media illustrations have a raw grittiness that well represents the metal man's work. While the characters' faces, when flat or in profile, are not as strong, moments of intense action spring to life. In one image, the forced perspective dynamically captures the metal man as he leans into his work, the energy of the moment bursting forth from the page. Though the story is labored throughout, the succinct and meaningful ending finds Devon realizing that perhaps, underneath all the "crud," something shiny and ferocious lies. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580891516
Publisher:
Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/28/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,080,228
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Aaron Reynolds is the author of numerous children's books, including TIGER MOTH: INSECT NINJA (Stone Arch Books), CHICKS AND SALSA (Bloomsbury Children's Books), and TALE OF THE POISONOUS YUCK BUGS (Zonderkidz). He lives in Fox River Grove, Illinois.

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