BROOKLYN BRIDGE by Lynn Curlee

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

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 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83183-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2001




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