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Richie's Picks: DREAM SOMETHING BIG: THE STORY OF THE WATTS TOWERS

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  • BudNotBuddy@aol.com
    Richie s Picks: DREAM SOMETHING BIG: THE STORY OF THE WATTS TOWERS by Dianna Hutts Aston and Susan L. Roth, ill., Dial, August 2011, 40p., ISBN:
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 28, 2011
      Richie's Picks: DREAM SOMETHING BIG: THE STORY OF THE WATTS TOWERS by Dianna Hutts Aston and Susan L. Roth, ill., Dial, August 2011, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-8037-3245-2
       
      "He showed me and my children
      the beauty of a broken angel,
      a bowling ball,
      a boot.
      The usefulness of an airplane wing.
      The patterns shells and rocks could make.
      Uncle Sam was like a spider weaving his web
      of steel and cement and lacy shadows.
      The third tower was his last.
      He wrote his initials and
      'Nuestro Pueblo' in cement--
      'Our Town,' a village for the world."
       
      Between 1921 and 1955, Italian immigrant Simon (Uncle Sam) Rodia crafted the 100-foot-tall Watts Towers from rebar, cement, and wire mesh decorated with shells, rocks and thousands of tiles, pieces of pottery, and broken glass.  He then gave away the property he owned, on which the Towers stood, and disappeared. 
       
      That, alone, which I learned from the author's note, is 100 times more than I previously knew about the Watts Towers.  I'd heard of them primarily because they had provided inspiration for Elaine Konigsburg's wonderful novel THE OUTCASTS OF 19 SCHUYLER PLACE.  I had no idea what the real towers actually looked like or that they'd been built before I was even born. 
       
      DREAM SOMETHING BIG is a picturebook celebration of the Towers, their history, and the triumph of creativity and audacity.  Susan L. Roth's collages are dazzling and fun, and the story concludes with actual photos of the structures and the very informative author's note.
       
      "Dream, do you dream,
      Dreaming, do you?"
      -- David Crosby
       
      DREAM SOMETHING BIG is a true story that is filled with joy and wonder, a true story about looking beyond the necessities to the possibilities and the impractical.  To reaching for the stars.  It is a stellar follow-up to Dianna Hutts Aston's previous picturebook about a family's wonder over the first human walking on the moon.
       
      Why?
       
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