Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lady Liberty: A Biography Ages 5-8

...and more or less in tune with 4th of July partying.

Pickers of nits may have a tricky time classifying the gorgeous new picture book about our emblem of freedom-- Lady Liberty: A Biography. What is noted author Doreen Rappaport doing with these free-verse poems, in the various voices of all who had a hand in creating the Statue of Liberty? The first poem is autobiographical, describing her Latvian grandfather seeing the statue for the first time. Then, from French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi to others famous and not so famous, the voices tell a true story-- how the statue was conceived and built and what it’s meant to immigrants ever since. Here is the voice of poet Emma Lazarus: “Soon when people arrive in the New World,/they will be welcomed/by a caring, powerful woman,” Rappaport writes, segueing into Lazarus’s own invocation: “Give me your tired, your poor,/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Besides being inspirational, the poems are obviously the fruit of mountains of research, and meanwhile Rappaport has collected every possible fact you could want to know into the back matter. Somber paintings by Matt Tavares swoop from unusual angles to heighten the drama. The format is large and inviting, with a “ta-da” fold-up page unveiling the completed Lady in all her magnificence. This is history, biography, and a tribute evoking genuine emotion-- all at the same time. I would call it seriously creative nonfiction (Candlewick, ages 5, 6, 7, 8). FROM:

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