Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers

Dianna Hutts Aston, illus. by Susan L. Roth. Dial, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3245-2
Aston pays tribute to the creative genius of an Italian immigrant and tile worker who, in the 1920s, begins a unique project on his Watts, Calif., property that takes 34 years to complete. Simon Rodia uses only rebar, cement, broken tiles, shells, and other found items to build towering spires, some almost a hundred feet tall, decorated with mosaic designs. A fictional neighbor girl, Marguerite, provides lyrical first-person narration as she watches the towers take shape throughout her childhood. The subject lends itself perfectly to the collage illustrations. Employing mostly paper, but also bits of pottery, cloth, clay and string, Roth stunningly recreates bold, stylized versions of the towers. This book beautifully illuminates a little-known story of imagination and perseverance that resulted in a national landmark. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Children's
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