CARL SANDBURG by Penelope Niven


Adventures of a Poet
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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A clever organization and nostalgic ink-and-watercolor illustrations cannot save this picture-book biography of one of the 20th century’s great men of letters. Eschewing a strictly chronological organization, this text instead juxtaposes a page of explicatory text about one aspect of Sandburg’s career against an illustration accompanied by an appropriate piece of Sandburg’s own writings. The spread covering “Carl’s” journalistic activities, for instance, features an excerpt from his essay on featuring Lincoln on the penny and a man-of-the people image of Lincoln with an axe. This organization serves the many talents and interests of its subject well, but sabotages it at the same time, as Niven’s narrative (rendered in an uncomfortably small typeface, given the format) pales by comparison to the vigor of Sandburg’s own writing. A timeline juxtaposing the events in Sandburg’s life against the historic changes in America during that same time is a nice feature, as are the notes on the illustrations. However, despite credits for Sandburg’s writings and many grateful acknowledgments, there is no indication of the written sources used for the primary text. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-15-204686-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2003