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FROM WALL TO WALL by Susan Kuklin

FROM WALL TO WALL

By Susan Kuklin (Author) , Susan Kuklin (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23492-6
Publisher: Putnam

Inspired by the emotional barriers of humans, Kuklin’s (Harlem Nutcracker, 2001, etc.) latest photo essay focuses on the form and function of walls. The theme “We share walls” repeats throughout as photographs framed in black stand out against muted images and earth-toned blocks of color. The opening spread, for example, shows “The Algarve,” a building in southern Portugal. A deep-green wall cuts diagonally across the navy sky; a white turret punctuates the center. On the next spread, a winding wall borders a French village (“Some are / old and thick / and made / of stone”) and a glass wall rises above a New York City rooftop (“Some are / clear and thin / for the sky / to come in”). Throughout, Kuklin juxtaposes ancient (the Lascaux caves painted by Cro-Magnons) and modern (a wall in Soho, New York, decorated with a trio of images of a human form running, jumping, and leaping into the air); the ephemeral (sandcastles in Southampton, Long Island) and the seemingly rock solid (a weather worn facade of an Italian building). Some, like the colorful school yard mural in Harlem and a memorial to a departed pet are simple celebrations while others such as the Great Wall of China signify larger cultural and political themes (“Fortress — / barricade — / rampart — / fence. / a wall / can separate / a very large / space”). Large print and bold layout make for a pleasing visual presentation. Labels identify the location where each photograph was taken while an Author’s Note provides additional details. Kuklin’s thoughtful exploration of these human-made creations is sure to inspire discussion. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)