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Dream Something Big Hardcover – August 18, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Aston’s] winding, poetic language evokes the strange beauty of the sculptures themselves.” — Booklist

About the Author

Susan L. Roth is the author and illustrator of many beautiful books for children. To create the collages for her books, Ms. Roth uses papers from sixteen baskets in her studio, which are lined up by color.

 

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD830L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (August 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732452
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Janette Fuller on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Between 1921 and 1955, Italian immigrant Simon Rodia transformed broken glass, seashells, pottery, and a dream to "do something big" into a U.S. National Landmark. Readers watch the Watts Towers rise from his little plot of land in Watts, California, through the eyes of a fictional girl.

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.
Highly Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Many immigrants have come to America to fulfill their dreams. Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Susan L. Roth retells the story of one notable Italian immigrant, Simon Rodia.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a great story to share with elementary school children as the prelude to conversation and activities about their visions for our community's future.
I will definitely use it again.
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