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Lady Liberty: A Biography

Doreen Rappaport, Author, Matt Tavares, Illustrator
Doreen Rappaport, Author, Matt Tavares, Illustrator , illus. by Matt Tavares. Candlewick $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2530-6
Reviewed on: 05/05/2008
Release date: 05/01/2008
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Tracing the Statue of Liberty's path to completion, Rappaport (Nobody Gonna to Turn Me 'Round ) lets those responsible for its creation tell the story of the project that spanned 20 years and two continents. Based on primary sources, their often lyrical, present-tense musings surge with the emotions behind the American symbol. “I listen to the people talk as they watch/ her skin being riveted onto her skeleton./ She inspires them. She inspires me,” structural engineer Gustave Eiffel declares. Jumping from one historical figure to the next (for example, from Eiffel to poet Emma Lazarus) is both energizing and discomfiting, as readers must settle into a new voice with each spread. Tavares's (Iron Hans ) realistic illustrations are at their best in the sweeping, angled perspectives of the construction and easily justify the book's large trim size. The full-bleed spreads culminate in a vertical gatefold of the copper icon sans weathered patina, instantly whisking readers to the triumphant moment of Liberty's unveiling in 1886. Ages 5–9. (May)

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