Harcourt, 2006 (2006)
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Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch
has an unusual subject for a children's picture book, but it addresses universal themes. The story takes place in San Francisco circa 1937, when the Golden Gate Bridge was under construction.
obert's father is part of the construction crew, as is his friend Charlie Shu's father. Robert's dad is a high-ironman, or a
, and Charlie's is a painter. Robert and Charlie spend a great deal of time watching their fathers work toward what some said was an impossible dream. When they are not gazing at their fathers through binoculars, Robert and Charlie are working on a jigsaw puzzle of an artist's rendition of the Golden Gate Bridge. Before the puzzle is completed, Robert pockets one of the pieces, intending to save it for his Pop so that he can complete the puzzle.
obert is so proud of his Pop's involvement that he becomes shortsighted about the contributions of the many other bridge workers, including those of Charlie's father. However, when an accident claims the lives of some of the workers, Robert realizes the error of his
I finally understand, and I feel ashamed. Equal work, equal danger, for skywalkers and for painters.
' After the opening night celebration, Robert ends up cutting the last puzzle piece in half and insists that both his own father and Charlie's dad put in the last piece of the puzzle together.
he book is effectively written in the first person with lyrical language. I like that there are undertones of racial equality as well, since Robert is Caucasian and Charlie is Chinese. C. F. Payne's trademark contemporary, slightly exaggerated illustrations highlight this superb story.
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