Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing

Overview

After fourteen years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed, much to the delight of the sister cities it connected: Brooklyn and New York City.

Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe?

One man seized the opportunity to show people in Brooklyn, New York and the world that the Brooklyn Bridge was...

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Overview

After fourteen years of construction, the Brooklyn Bridge was completed, much to the delight of the sister cities it connected: Brooklyn and New York City.

Fireworks and top hats filled the air in celebration when the magnificent bridge opened in 1883. But some wondered just how much weight the new bridge could hold. Was it truly safe?

One man seized the opportunity to show people in Brooklyn, New York and the world that the Brooklyn Bridge was in fact strong enough to hold even the heaviest of passengers. P. T. Barnum, creator of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” would present a show too big for the Big Top and too wondrous to forget.

Upon completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, P.T. Barnum and his twenty-one elephants parade across to prove to everyone that the bridge is safe.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The sparse, yet powerful text contains both alliteration and occasional rhyme, making it a pleasure for readers and listeners alike. Roca's masterful paintings capture both the spirit of the times and of the expansive bridge." ––School Library Journal, starred School Library Journal, Starred

"The design is crisp, the story is told with real poetry, and Roca's paintings are rich and warm. Both text and illustrations reflect the grandeur, if not the delightful absurdity, of this historic event." ––Booklist Booklist, ALA

"Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge-which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene." ––Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-This well-researched, handsomely illustrated picture book captures the anticipation and uncertainties of those who witnessed the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Focusing on Phineas T. Barnum of circus fame, who saw in the doubt an opportunity, Prince describes the "pachyderm procession" up Broadway, past City Hall, and over the bridge to Brooklyn. As viewers' and readers' excitement mounts, the author queries, "How many pounds can the wondrous bridge hold? How many elephants are too great a load?" After the successful spectacle, skeptics crossed fearlessly, and where did they go? "Why, they went to the Big Top, of course!" While many picture books have been written about this famous construction, this one is by far the best read-aloud. The sparse, yet powerful text contains both alliteration and occasional rhyme, making it a pleasure for readers and listeners alike. Roca's masterful paintings capture both the spirit of the times and of the expansive bridge, extending beyond the confines of the page to cover almost half of the adjacent one. Not to be confused with Phil Bildner's Twenty-One Elephants (S & S, 2004), which is wordier, more fictionalized, and visually less appealing, this title is ideal for units on local history and bridges.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum's 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge's sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: "'I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn't Barnum!'" Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge-which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner's Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author's note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618448876
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 293,384
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

April Jones Prince is a children's book author and freelance editor. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and young son. Her most recent book for Houghton Mifflin was Twenty-one Elephants and Still Standing, a story about P. T. Barnum and the Brooklyn Bridge.

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