Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Lady Liberty: A biography

Lady Liberty: A biography

Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator:  Matt Ravares 
Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Candlewick, 1990   ISBN: 978-0763625306

The story of the Statue of Liberty has been told many times by many people. Many of us know that the statue was a gift from the French people, and that it was designed by Auguste Bartholdi. We know, perhaps, that Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) helped to design a strong and lasting metal framework for the statue. We know that the Statue of Liberty has come to symbolize America's greatness, and her willingness to welcome those who need sanctuary to her shores.

What makes this account special is that the story of the Statue of Liberty is told by the people who designed her, built her, raised money for her, and were inspired and welcomed by her. On these pages we hear the voice of Emma Lazarus, the poet who wrote the words that are engraved on Lady Liberty's base. We hear too from Joseph Pulitzer, the newspaper publisher who encouraged his readers to help raise the money needed to pay for Lady Liberty's pedestal. There is also the voice of a young girl called Florence de Foreest who sent Mr. Pulitzer her pet roosters so that he could sell them and add the money to the Lady Liberty fund. We hear the voices of those who were there when the Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled on October 28th, 1886. Finally, we hear the voices of some of the people who saw Lady Liberty as they were sailing into New York Harbor. For these people the statue was a beacon, a symbol of freedom, and a symbol too of a hope-filled new life that awaited them in America.

Without a doubt this is one of the most moving, powerful, and beautiful picture books that has been written about the Statue of Liberty. Using the words of the people who were touched by Lady Liberty, the author shows her readers that the statue is all about people and the amazing things that people are capable of.

With a lyrical text, quotes, and stunning artwork, this is a picture book that will surely delight readers of all ages for years to come.