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SANDY’S CIRCUS by Tanya Lee Stone Kirkus Star


A Story about Alexander Calder

by Tanya Lee Stone & illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-670-06268-3
Publisher: Viking

Examining Calder’s childhood and young adulthood, Stone focuses on his interest in craft and machinery. The child of artists, an engineering graduate and a tinkerer from the get-go, Sandy made toys, jewelry and even quick-study wire portraits for friends encountered on Parisian streets. His miniature circus, constructed of wire, cork and other found objects, grew to fill five suitcases that trundled between New York and Paris for engrossing, kinetic performances. The lively text shines with apt details. Quotes peppering the narrative, though unattributed specifically, seem carefully interpolated. “People said: ‘He has discovered, in playing, a new world.’ His art ‘has the force of the ocean.’ ” Kulikov’s mixed-media illustrations anchor black-and-white sketches (portraying Calder’s processes, tools and sources of inspiration) within full-color spreads that playfully celebrate the text. Sandy, shouldering a thick lariat of wire, bicycles through a 1920s Paris teeming with canvas-schlepping artists. His elegant, ever-present laurel-wreathed muse hovers nearby, with a palette (or, in one spread, lugging some of those suitcases). Spritely, noteworthy and nicely timed to Calder’s 110th birthday. (author’s note, source note) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)