PARKS FOR THE PEOPLE

A STORY ABOUT FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED

Frederick Law Olmsted was born in Hartford, Conn., in 1822. He was an intelligent and ambitious man whose many interests made it hard for him to settle on a career. Although his family was supportive and understanding, it was also large, and Olmsted's father could not afford to bankroll his eldest son forever. So Olmsted tried a number of different kinds of work: His love of nature caused him to take up farming; his concern for the urban poor and for black slaves led him to a brief career in writing; his administrative skills won him an appointment with the US Sanitary Commission during the Civil War. Olmsted was good, and occasionally successful, at these pursuits, but he had trouble finding the field—landscape architecture—that combined his many interests because it did not yet exist. (Olmsted and his sometime partner, Calvert Vaux, coined the term.) When New York City planned to create a public park, Olmsted was hired first as superintendent of the project and then architect-in-chief, after he and Vaux won first prize for their park design. Creating the park was a long and taxing job, but Olmsted loved it. Central Park today looks very much like Olmsted and Vaux's design. Olmsted went on to create more public parks and restore and preserve natural landscapes, like Niagara Falls. He died in 1903. Dunlap's (Aldo Leopold, not reviewed) biography is absorbing and readable. (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 1994

ISBN: 0-87614-824-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1994

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MY HAVANA

MEMORIES OF A CUBAN BOYHOOD

Mirroring the career he eventually entered, architect Fernandez builds up, like one of Havana’s ornate structures, memories of childhood in his pre- and post-Castro hometown. A gifted illustrator, he drew constantly, easily rendering even minute architectural details. Before emigrating to New York City, young “Dino” and his family moved first to Madrid to assist relatives. Discovering a dictatorship that wasn’t much different from the one they’d left in Cuba, the family returned home and then finally moved to the United States. Havana was never far from his mind, and art brought solace. So homesick was Dino in Manhattan that he actually “built” a cardboard replica of Havana that captured the colors and warmth he remembered. This fictionalized memoir is for the contemplative reader and anyone who has felt out of place or yearned for a beloved home; it could serve as a catalyst for creative expression. Wells has chosen anecdotes wisely, and Ferguson’s illustrations are atmospheric, capturing Dino’s childlike enthusiasm and longing. An author’s note reveals how Wells came to know of and be inspired by Fernandez’s story. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4305-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity.

HEAD TO HEAD

18 LINKED PORTRAITS OF PEOPLE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

Renowned achievers go nose-to-nose on fold-out pages.

Mixing contemporary celebrities with historical figures, Corbineau pairs off his gallery of full-page portraits by theme, the images all reworked from photos or prints into cut-paper collages with highly saturated hues. Gandhi and Rosa Parks exemplify nonviolent protest; Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie are (mostly) commended for their work with impoverished people; and a “common point” between Gutenberg and Mark Zuckerberg is that both revolutionized the ways we communicate. The portraits, on opposite ends of gatefolds, open to reveal short biographies flanking explanatory essays. Women and people of color are distinctly underrepresented. There are a few surprises, such as guillotined French playwright Olympe de Gouges, linked for her feminism with actress Emma Watson; extreme free-fall jumper Felix Baumgartner, paired with fellow aerialist record-seeker Amelia Earhart; and Nelson Mandela’s co–freedom fighter Jean Moulin, a leader of the French Resistance. In another departure from the usual run of inspirational panegyrics, Cornabas slips in the occasional provocative claim, noting that many countries considered Mandela’s African National Congress a terrorist organization and that Mother Teresa, believing that suffering was “a gift from God,” rarely gave her patients painkillers. Although perhaps only some of these subjects “changed the world” in any significant sense, all come off as admirable—for their ambition, strength of character, and drive.

Several unexpected connections, though Eurocentric overall and lacking in racial diversity. (map, timeline) (Collective biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6226-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Schiffer

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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