Reviews for Martin's Big Words : The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 2001
/*Starred Review*/ Ages 4-9. "Remember if I am stopped, this movement will not be stopped, because God is with this movement." Weaving in Dr. King's own "big words," this inspiring picture-book biography celebrates the great leader as preacher and politician. Rappaport's spare narrative captures the essentials of the man, the movement he led, and his policy of nonviolence. Only in the case of Rosa Parks is the glimpse too simplistic, presenting her as an individual who refused to give up her seat on the bus, rather than as the political activist she was. Collier's collage art is glorious. Combining cut-paper, photographs, and watercolor he expresses his own Christian faith and King's power "to make many different things one." Stained glass windows are the dominant images, not only in the many church scenes, but also in the play of shape, light, and color in the realistic views of the city. With powerful art and pulsing words ("He walked with them and talked with them and sang with them and prayed with them"), this is a fine book to share and read aloud many times. ((Reviewed October 1, 2001)) Copyright 2001 Booklist Reviews

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Spring
The text is a mix of finely honed biographical narrative and appropriate quotes from King himself, emphasizing the concept that from his youth Martin had sought to inspire others with his words. The essential events of King's life are presented in a straightforward yet moving style. The facts are extended by breathtaking collage illustrations. A chronology and informative notes from author and illustrator are included. Bib. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2002 #1
This is one book you can judge by its cover. The space on the front jacket is entirely filled with a large, inviting portrait of a smiling Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the usual publication data (title, author, illustrator) are printed on the back. Inside, the text is a mix of Rappaport's finely honed biographical narrative and appropriate quotes from King himself, emphasizing the concept that from his youth Martin had sought to inspire others with his words, as he had heard his father do. The essential and pivotal events of King's life, including the early days of the civil rights movement, the march on Washington, and King's assassination, are presented in a straightforward yet moving style. The facts are extended by Bryan Collier's breathtaking collage illustrations, which dazzle, challenge, and inspire with their repletion of motifs (such as stained-glass windows) and the mixture of symbols and realism (as in the depiction of black Americans carrying a flag as they march for freedom). This exemplary biography of one of the great leaders of the twentieth century will remind another generation of the grandeur of his legacy. With informative forewords from author and illustrator, a chronology, and a selective listing of further readings and websites. m.m.b. Copyright 2001 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 October #2
This picture-book biography provides an ideal introduction to this leader and his works. Juxtaposing original text with quotes from King's writing and speeches, Rappaport's (Escape from Slavery) narrative offers a pastiche of scenes from King's life, beginning with his childhood experience of seeing "White Only" signs sprinkled throughout his hometown. He questions his mother about their meaning, and she assures him, "You are as good as anyone." Listening to his father preach, the boy asserts that "When I grow up, I'm going to get big words, too." Rappaport also touches upon King's role in the Montgomery bus strike that followed Rosa Park's 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger and his subsequent efforts as a civil rights crusader. After briefly describing the circumstances of his death, the story concludes, quite abruptly, with the statement, "His big words are alive for us today." The author relies on her subject's own words, and his power, passion and pacifism shine through. Collier's (Uptown) striking watercolor and cut paper collage art feature closely focused, lifelike images of King and other individuals against an inventive montage of patterns and textures. The portraits of King exude his spiritual strength and peaceful visage. In the background of some scenes are intricate recreations of stained glass windows, which, Collier explains in an introductory note, he interprets as a metaphor for King's life. An elegant, understated pictorial biography. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2001 October
Gr 3-5-Collier combines his distinctive watercolor-and-collage art with Rappaport's uncluttered text to sum up King's life and work. Each two-page spread begins with a short paragraph about King and his crusade for civil rights, followed by a powerful sample of his own words set in oversized, boldface type. Both portions of the succinct text work together to emphasize the leader's courage, commitment, and, ultimately, sacrifice without sensationalizing his death. King's assassination during the 1968 Memphis garbage strike is summed up in just two short sentences:"On his second day there, he was shot. He died." The book concludes with a reassuring reminder that his words are immortal. Rappaport advises readers to use "Martin Luther King" as the search term to find more than 200 Web sites dedicated to King and the civil rights movement. Both author and illustrator preface the book with brief notes to explain specific aspects of King's life and death that inspired them in their collaboration. The result is a stunning, reverent tribute.-Catherine Threadgill, DeKalb County Public Library, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

----------------------