Reviews for Lady Liberty : A Biography


Booklist Reviews 2008 April #2
*Starred Review* The noble face of the Statue of Liberty graces this "biography," which presents the story of its conception and construction in France, the efforts to raise funds on both sides of the Atlantic, preparations for her arrival in New York, and the celebration culminating in her unveiling in 1886. Rappaport tells the story in a series of free-verse poems representing the reflections of individuals, from Bartholdi, who designed the statue, to Lazarus, who wrote the words on her base, to Pulitzer, who raised significant funds in America, to Florence de Foreest, a little girl who donated her roosters to be sold for the cause, to Rappaport herself, who imagines her immigrant grandfather's first sight of Liberty. The first-person narratives effectively convey the personal significance the statue has had for many people. Large in scale and monumental in effect, the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations, including a dramatic vertical foldout page showing Lady Liberty at her unveiling, offer often beautiful views of her many-faceted story. A source bibliography and a recommended reading list are appended. With its intimate narratives and handsome artwork, this large-format book offers a unique portrayal of an iconic statue. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2008 July
A salute to Lady Liberty

With her majestic pose, upraised torch and steady gaze over New York's harbor, the Statue of Liberty is the supreme queen of American freedom. You might even say she's one of the most inspirational women in the world. In Lady Liberty: A Biography, author Doreen Rappaport continues her pursuit of wonderful iconic portrayals that includes Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here, Rappaport pays tribute to the great copper lady by offering a series of poetic vignettes depicting the people who contributed to her creation and legacy. This fresh and refined life story of Lady Libertya wonderful complement to textbook historiesis further enriched by the strikingly handsome illustrations of Matt Tavares.

Rappaport begins on a personal note, in present-day New York City, by imagining her own grandfather's experience as a Latvian immigrant. She then travels back to a French parlor on a summer evening in 1865 when law professor Edoaurd de Laboulaye declares, "Soon America will be one hundred years old. I share my dream of a birthday gift." Readers enter the studio of sculptor Auguste Bartholdi before structural engineer Gustave Eiffel arrives on the scene and hundreds of people gather on the streets of Paris to bear witness to the immense statue's construction.

Inspired by the news of the Lady's pending arrival, poet Emma Lazarus pens the words that will be inscribed on its pedestal: "Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Soon, publisher Joseph Pulitzer calls on citizens to contribute to the costs of building the statue's base and, in New Jersey, young Florence De Foreest is moved to donate her pet roosters to Pulitzer's cause. When the Statue of Liberty is installed and unveiled on Bedloe's Island in 1886, she's met with thrilling patriotic fanfare.

Each episode in Lady Liberty: A Biography is imbued with intimacy and painterly precision. The combination of Rappaport's distinctive storytelling skills and Tavares' evocative watercolor-and ink-illustrated spreads will engage readers of all ages, while serving as a reminder that immigration is an issue relevant to every American.

Ellen Trachtenberg, who has made it all the way to the top of the Statue of Liberty, is the author of A Parent's Guide to the Best Children's Literature. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
Rappaport's "biography" consists of fictional first-person accounts representing the voices of people who assisted in the statue's design, building, financing, and transport. The stories, arranged chronologically, together convey a vivid sense of the ingenuity, politics, and hardships involved in making the statue a reality. Tavares's watercolor, pencil, and ink images complement each account precisely and emphasize the intimacy of Rappaport's vignettes. Reading list, timeline. Bib. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #4
Rappaport's "biography" of the Statue of Liberty consists of fictional first-person accounts representing the voices of people who assisted in the design, building, financing, and transport of the Statue of Liberty from France to New York in the late nineteenth century. These include the French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, the American newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, the poet Emma Lazarus, and Florence de Foreest, a ten-year-old New Jersey girl who donated her two roosters to the fundraising efforts. The accounts, arranged chronologically, together convey a vivid sense of the ingenuity, politics, and hardships involved in making the statue a reality. Rappaport writes with clear passion for her subject (she opens with a personal story in which she recounts how her young immigrant grandfather cried when he first saw the statue), yet the writing never becomes jingoistic or overly sentimental. She doesn't shy away from the less romantic aspects of the story, whether mentioning the antipathy of prominent individuals toward the project or describing the arduous sixteen-hour work days of Italian immigrant laborers. Tavares's watercolor, pencil, and ink images complement each account precisely, emphasizing the intimacy of Rappaport's vignettes with either dramatic close-ups of the speaking characters or representations of smaller scenes from the text. The back matter to this poignant and captivating portrait includes "Statue of Liberty Dimensions," a chronology of important events, author's and illustrator's notes, and selected sources. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #2
"She will be massive but elegant, / as grand as any one of the / Seven Wonders of the Ancient World." Tributes to the Statue of Liberty abound, but this one stands out for its unusual approach and powerful illustrations. Rappaport traces the statue's history in a series of stately free-verse poems in the voices of those who became involved in its creation: from Edouard de Laboulaye, who first proposed it, and sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, his assistant, to young Florence De Foreest, who sent her two pet roosters to help pay for the base; and Jos Mart', Cuban exile and journalist. Generally viewed from low angles, all of the solid, serious human figures in Tavares's three-quarter-spread paintings bulk larger than life--and lead up to a spectacular climactic foldout view of the monument towering into cloudy skies on the rainy day of her unveiling. Closing with heartfelt comments from several immigrants or their children, this adds up to a stirring reminder of what Lady Liberty stands for. (author's and illustrator's notes, statistics, timeline, sources) (Poetry. 9-11, adult) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2008 November/December
A not-so-typical view of the Statue of Liberty and her history, this book tells about the famous statue by presenting vignettes of the people involved with the lady. It begins with a group in France remembering the American Revolution and its impact on the French Revolution. The book continues as Bartholdi and his team design and build Lady Liberty, and Eiffel and his crew engineer its construction. In America, Emma Lazarus writes the poem that is chosen for the base, Pulitzer uses his newspaper to encourage people to contribute funds to the construction of the base on Bedloe?s Island, and the American people fund and celebrate the statue?s completion. End material includes comments from immigrants seeing Liberty as they sailed into New York Harbor, facts on the statue, a timeline of events, and sources for more information. Notes from both the author and illustrator give their feelings and connection to the statue. The short, lyrical text gives much information while still giving a sense of the emotions of the people involved. The pictures complement the text, using different perspectives and colors to give detail and feeling. The book is well worth adding to a collection. Recommended. Betsy Ruffin, Librarian, Irving Elementary, Cleburne, Texas ¬ 2008 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 May #1

Tracing the Statue of Liberty's path to completion, Rappaport (Nobody Gonna to Turn Me 'Round ) lets those responsible for its creation tell the story of the project that spanned 20 years and two continents. Based on primary sources, their often lyrical, present-tense musings surge with the emotions behind the American symbol. "I listen to the people talk as they watch/ her skin being riveted onto her skeleton./ She inspires them. She inspires me," structural engineer Gustave Eiffel declares. Jumping from one historical figure to the next (for example, from Eiffel to poet Emma Lazarus) is both energizing and discomfiting, as readers must settle into a new voice with each spread. Tavares's (Iron Hans ) realistic illustrations are at their best in the sweeping, angled perspectives of the construction and easily justify the book's large trim size. The full-bleed spreads culminate in a vertical gatefold of the copper icon sans weathered patina, instantly whisking readers to the triumphant moment of Liberty's unveiling in 1886. Ages 5-9. (May)

[Page 62]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 May

Gr 3-8-- This handsome, thoroughly researched picture book tells the story of the statue from conception to dedication from the points of view of the many different players in Liberty's dramatic life. Beginning with the author imagining how her Latvian grandfather felt when he first spied "her," the presentation ends with several quotes from other European immigrants, describing their thoughts as "The Lady" welcomed them to America. The book's unique structure enables Rappaport to pack a wealth of background and detail into the text in an interesting, engaging way. Each spread features a one-and-a-half-page illustration, rendered in watercolor, ink, and pencil, accompanied by a framed narrative poem. Children meet douard de Laboulaye, the French law professor who conceived of the statue, and sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, with whom he collaborated. Assistant Marie Simon outlines the intensive mathematical process of turning the original four-foot clay model into the copper "Colossus" she would become. Other voices include Charles P. Stone, a construction supervisor on Bedloe's Island, and Joseph Pulitzer, whose moving editorials inspired 100,000 Americans to donate money when Congress and the Mayor of New York would not. Tavares's evocative paintings bring each perspective to life, from images of an immigrant's outstretched arms to the countless workers measuring, building, and digging. A beautiful, innovative volume.--Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools

[Page 148]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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