An account of the former first lady’s impassioned campaign to save one of New York’s iconic buildings.
Wing and Boiger rightly acknowledge that it wasn’t just Jackie Onassis’ campaign, but here she stands at its center in both narrative and art—particularly in the latter, where she positively shines in a stylish red coat, whether fronting a protest march or striking a gracefully defiant pose before the U.S. Supreme Court. The author begins with her subject’s renovation of the Kennedy-era White House and then, following quick looks at Grand Central’s history and use, describes how the prospect of that magnificent, if somewhat seedy, landmark’s demolition motivated Onassis to enlist the mayor, the city, and the nation in a protracted, ultimately successful battle. Next up: the building’s $200 million restoration, which she helped to start but did not live to see completed in 1998. The author’s repeated use of “cerulean” to describe Grand Central’s ceiling, along with the footless, pipestem legs of Jackie and other figures in the diverse if generalized crowd scenes, does strike a twee note. Nonetheless, it’s an inspiring historical episode that also makes a strong case for the general value of preserving our country’s architectural treasures.
Grand, in several ways. (author’s & illustrator’s notes, sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10)