LIBERTY!

Allan Drummond, Author, Allan Drummond, Illustrator . FSG/Foster $17 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-34385-9

Pen-and-wash illustrations so lively they seem to dance on the page animate a story of the 1886 dedication of the Statue of Liberty. The narrator is the nameless boy given the job of signaling (with a wave of a handkerchief) to Bartholdi to drop his statue's veil and reveal her face to the world for the first time. Drummond (Casey Jones) conveys the mounting excitement of the event itself while presenting a cavalcade of characters and incidents: suffragettes protesting ("How long must we wait for liberty?" they shout), immigrants arriving in the harbor, the construction of the statue in France and its assemblage in New York. After the dedication (breezily imagined as being catalyzed by a sneeze from a French engineer's daughter), Drummond's text and visuals turn to a brief reverie on the meanings and gifts of freedom. "I am free… and you are free," he writes, as his hero savors various manifestations of American liberty, "…to say what we want… and to believe what we want… Freedom is like a flame we must all hold high and give to others and keep burning bright all around the world." Buoyed by an effortless visual fluidity and an earnest love of country, this is a civics lesson with staying power. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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