Gray bridges abound, but there’s only one major one that’s orange—and here’s how that happened.
Striving for whimsy when he’s not being patronizing—“It was a long trip, but the pieces of steel did not mind, for they are inanimate objects”—Eggers tracks the building of the Golden Gate Bridge from rejected design proposals (“It was functional, but it was grotesque”) on. Along with giving the bridge’s innovative features a light once-over, he introduces the project’s three main architects. One had designed the Manhattan Bridge, “believed to be in or near New York City,” as Eggers coyly puts it; another led the populist campaign to keep the finished structure the International Orange with which its prefabricated steel parts were (and still are) coated because it “somehow looked right.” Whether young readers will find these observations, or such lines as, “Sometimes the things humans make baffle even the humans who make them,” illuminating is anybody’s guess. In broad collages assembled from large pieces of cut paper, Nichols illustrates the enterprise with stylized portrait heads and abstract views of golden hills set against blue (or sometimes gray) expanses of sea and sky. The finished bridge poses grandly in several.
That it’s the “best-known and best-loved bridge in the world” is arguable; if it is, one wonders why it needs a self-conscious, 104-page picture book to draw attention to it. (jacket poster) (Informational picture book. 7-9)