Pop's Bridge

( 1 )


The Golden Gate Bridge. The impossible bridge, some call it. They say it can't be built.

But Robert's father is building it. He's a skywalker—a brave, high-climbing ironworker. Robert is convinced his pop has the most important job on the crew . . . until a frightening event makes him see that it takes an entire team to accomplish the impossible.

When it was completed in 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was hailed as an international ...

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Pop's Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge. The impossible bridge, some call it. They say it can't be built.

But Robert's father is building it. He's a skywalker—a brave, high-climbing ironworker. Robert is convinced his pop has the most important job on the crew . . . until a frightening event makes him see that it takes an entire team to accomplish the impossible.

When it was completed in 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge was hailed as an international marvel. Eve Bunting's riveting story salutes the ingenuity and courage of every person who helped raise this majestic American icon.
Includes an author's note about the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Bunting takes us back to the 1930s and the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. To Robert, our young narrator, it is his father's bridge, for he is one of the thousand workers, a "high-iron man," or "skywalker." Robert's friend Charlie Shu's father is a painter, a job Robert feels is not as important. The two friends watch as the "impossible bridge," as it was called, is being completed. One day, in an accident, Charlie's father is nearly lost, and Robert realizes how dangerous the jobs of both fathers are. Everyone celebrates the completion of the bridge. The boys have been working on a jigsaw puzzle picture of it, but one piece remains missing. Robert has saved it. He cuts it in half, so the two fathers can finish the puzzle together symbolically, as they have the bridge. Payne's naturalistic mixed-media illustrations work with the text to humanize the great engineering feat by focusing on the two families. There is a suggestion of Norman Rockwell realism, but it is less photographic, with the faces and features emphasized. As the hands of both fathers place the last piece in the puzzle, the scene is symbolic of the many workers on the bridge and the cross-cultural friendship of the families. A lengthy note fills in detailed background information about the famous bridge. 2006, Harcourt, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Robert and his friend Charlie Shu spend many an afternoon at Fort Point watching from afar as their dads work on the crews building the Golden Gate Bridge. Robert's father is a high-iron man, a skywalker, and, in his son's eyes, has a far more important and dangerous job than the painting Charlie's dad does. When Robert's mom gives the youngsters a jigsaw puzzle based on an artist's rendering of the yet-to-be completed bridge, Robert hides a piece to give his father the honor of completing the puzzle. When a scaffold falls and 10 men die, however, he realizes that the work is equally dangerous for all involved. While the two families are celebrating the completion of the bridge, he cuts the last puzzle piece, offering half to each dad. "Finish it. It's your bridge. It belongs to both of you," he says. The text is followed by an author's note recounting the Golden Gate's history. Payne's striking mixed-media illustrations bleed off the pages and offer interesting views of the "impossible bridge"-against a star-filled sky, through a binocular lens. The spread featuring delighted throngs, both boys front and center, walking across the bridge at its opening and that of the dads, index fingers meeting across the page to complete the puzzle, say more poignantly than words that people of different backgrounds can come together to accomplish the unthinkable. Deborah Hopkinson's Sky Boys: How They Built the Empire State Building (Random, 2006) features more skywalkers at their dangerous jobs.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Practically bursting with pride, a lad tracks his "high-iron" father through binoculars as the Golden Gate Bridge goes up in this tribute both to the bridge itself, and to the teamwork that built it. Robert's best friend Charlie Shu's dad works on the bridge too, as a painter, but Robert thinks his own father's contribution is much more important. Then a serious accident claims the lives of several workers, causing Robert to understand that the bridge really "belongs" to everyone involved in its creation. Painting with soft-focus realism, Payne effectively captures the finished bridge's magnificence, as well as the widespread public excitement that greeted its opening in 1937. The story doesn't quite hang together, and is laced with mannered symbolism and some questionable cultural history, but like Connie Ann Kirk's Sky Dancers (2004, illustrated by Christy Hale), it offers a cogent glimpse of the human story that lies behind every great building project. (afterword) (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152047733
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/1/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 257,264
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

EVE BUNTING is the author of many acclaimed books for young readers, including the Caldecott Medal–winning Smoky Night. Her numerous honors include the prestigious Kerlan Award for her body of work. Ms. Bunting lives in Southern California.

C. F. PAYNE has illustrated several books for children, including Brave Harriet: The First Woman to Fly the English Channel and True Heart, both written by Marissa Moss. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013


    She sat waiting for Rye a smile on her features.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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