LOOKING AT LIBERTY by Harvey Stevenson


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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A highly metaphorical account of the creation and installation of the Statue of Liberty furnishes plenty of poetic and patriotic fervor but little objective substance. Addressing a hypothetical child looking up at the statue, heightened language enjoins readers to “[l]isten to the wind against her and you may hear the sounds of ropes pulled taut and creaking wood, and wind-filled canvas;” the occasional explication appears below in a smaller typeface, explaining that sculptor “Bartholdi traveled from France to America to explain what he hoped to build. . . . ” Monumental illustrations, mostly full-bleed, double-paged spreads, track the building, display, transportation, and installation of the Statue, expanding the poetic text in fine fashion. The illustrations are almost too reverential, but the occasional inspired spread leavens the tone, as in one illustration of busy roofers hammering the gargantuan copper toes of Lady Liberty. Unfortunately, there is no such leavening for the language, which, although beautiful, inevitably succumbs to sentiment: “[A]s people’s dreams awakened around her, the love and the hope she must have felt!” This emotional manipulation renders the offering just another piece of propaganda, however artfully done. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-000100-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2003


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