BROOKLYN BRIDGE

A goldmine of information in this lucid and elegant recounting of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, with equally resplendent paintings. The story itself is deeply dramatic and set in relief by the author’s straightforward account. John A. Roebling, a German immigrant, studied and practiced building suspension bridges his whole life and convinced the government that this was the way to connect Brooklyn to New York. But while he was surveying the river site, a ferry smashed his foot, and he died of lockjaw, leaving his 32-year-old son Washington to run the massive project. Curlee does an excellent job not only of describing how the bridge was engineered and built, but of reminding his audience how different things were in 1870. In fascinating detail he describes how foundations had to be dug out by hand; that no one knew how to prevent “the bends” by moving slowly rather than directly out of a compressed air environment; and that much of what Roebling planned had first to be invented. Himself a victim of the bends, for the last 11 years of the project Roebling was a housebound invalid, and his wife, Emily, acted as his voice and assistant. On May 24, 1883, US President Chester A. Arthur led a huge celebration to open the bridge, whose beauty and majesty, no less than its perfect strength, has seen it through more than a century of traffic from carriages to cars. Heavily based on David McCullough’s The Great Bridge, one of four items in the bibliography, this awe-inspiring study provides an excellent resource for young people. (specifications, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83183-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay.

HOW TÍA LOLA CAME TO (VISIT) STAY

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 1

Renowned Latin American writer Alvarez has created another story about cultural identity, but this time the primary character is 11-year-old Miguel Guzmán. 

When Tía Lola arrives to help the family, Miguel and his hermana, Juanita, have just moved from New York City to Vermont with their recently divorced mother. The last thing Miguel wants, as he's trying to fit into a predominantly white community, is a flamboyant aunt who doesn't speak a word of English. Tía Lola, however, knows a language that defies words; she quickly charms and befriends all the neighbors. She can also cook exotic food, dance (anywhere, anytime), plan fun parties, and tell enchanting stories. Eventually, Tía Lola and the children swap English and Spanish ejercicios, but the true lesson is "mutual understanding." Peppered with Spanish words and phrases, Alvarez makes the reader as much a part of the "language" lessons as the characters. This story seamlessly weaves two culturaswhile letting each remain intact, just as Miguel is learning to do with his own life. Like all good stories, this one incorporates a lesson just subtle enough that readers will forget they're being taught, but in the end will understand themselves, and others, a little better, regardless of la lengua nativa—the mother tongue.

Simple, bella, un regalo permenente: simple and beautiful, a gift that will stay. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80215-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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