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Dream Something Big Hardcover – August 18, 2011
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The story is illustrated with beautiful collages made from cut and torn paper, cloth, fibers and other "found" things.
I had never heard of The Watts Towers until I read this picture book. I am astounded and amazed that one man could accomplish this task. Simon Rodia was a pioneer in reusing and recycling discarded items to create something new and unique. He worked on this project for over thirty years! I can just imagine what his neighbors were thinking.
The towers are now a National Historic Landmark and are considered an example of non-traditional vernacular architecture and American folk art.
This book does a great job presenting American history, art and architecture in a way that children will find interesting and fun. There is a section at the end of the book that shows children how to create their own Watts Tower from pipe cleaners, assorted beads and buttons, magazine clippings and foam shapes.
This is an excellent story of possibility and perseverance for children of all ages.
To his neighbors, he was an illiterate man who kept to himself and had an odd hobby of collecting odds and ends from other people's garbage. For 34 years (1921-1955), he used thousands of these discarded items to build 17 major structures on his lot in Watts, California. Without any known plans or sophisticated machinery, he made the base of his sculptures out of structural steel covered with mortar. Each tower was decorated with colorful mosaics composed of broken glass, sea shells, generic pottery, and special tiles.
His artwork ultimately became a U.S. National Landmark.
Dianna combines the background of Simon's work with a fictionalized story. The intriguing tale is seen through the eyes of a young girl who makes candid remarks about her neighborhood and the work that Uncle Sam (Simon) does. Simon's character is brought to life and the reader sees how he creates folk art. Children will enjoy listening to the well written story and admiring the illustrations as they wonder about their own potential. An author's note provides additional facts.
The award winning and talented illustrator, Susan, capitalizes on the artistic feel and texture of Simon's work. By using mosaics and collages, the pictures have a rich texture that relates back to the structures. The illustrations complement the artistic message of the book.
Learning about the accomplishments of talented individuals can inspire students to look for their hidden talents. Dreams can become reality when people are motivated and determined.
I will definitely use it again.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Children need role models - good role models...role models who exhibit the traits they need to embrace, like perseverance and love of beauty and hard work and creativity and caring... Read morePublished 15 months ago by viviankirkfield
Great insight into the building of the Watts Towers in CA and how they came to alive through the dream of an Italian immigrant. Read morePublished 17 months ago by L. Lathrop