Monday, December 22, 2008

Sandy's Circus: A Story about Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrations by Boris Kulilov (Penguin/Viking, 2008)

Lynn: This exuberant picture book biography focuses on Calder’s early years and perfectly captures the love of life reflected in his art. Playful illustrations convey a sense of whimsy and delight as well as Calder’s attention to intricate detail. Especially effective are pages that show huge hands working with the tiny pieces of wire, bringing his delightful circus to life, and the pages showing a giant Calder carrying his suitcases striding over the cities. This wonderful book is sure to ignite the imaginations of budding artists and engineers of all ages! Anyone who reads this book will come away smiling. Check out this clip of Calder in his later years demonstrating the circus.
Cindy: I really, really, love this book. Ok, I know we don't let our BBYA teens get away with such lameness, so I'll expand, but first, did I tell you that I really LOVE this book? This is a picture book that older teens and adults will enjoy as much as young children, maybe more. Stone's solid storytelling is perfectly accompanied by colorful illustrations that exemplify Calder's palate. I was familiar with Calder's mobiles, but didn't know that he had INVENTED the form. And, I'd love for Santa to leave a miniature circus animal in my stocking! There's a great story here, too, about how our childhood experiences influence who we become, and in the importance of following our dreams and interests. I just bought this book for my daughter who is planning to study math and statistics in college next year but really wants to major in art. I think this would be a great gift for many graduates as they close their suitcases, click, click, click, and head off to pursue their dreams. I really LOVE this book.