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Sandy's Circus: A Story about Alexander Calderby Tanya Lee Stone
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone's a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets?" Tony Sarg — puppeteer, illustrator and legendary prankster who once declared, "I never worked a day in my life." In brilliant collage illustrations, award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of this puppeteer, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America — the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy's Parade.
"Stone (Elizabeth Leads the Way) gives top billing to a minor but well-chosen aspect of Alexander (Sandy) Calder's distinguished career in a biography that kids can easily connect with. Her Sandy has not yet invented the mobile, but has combined a documented love of making things with a two-week stint drawing the Ringling Brothers circus for a New York paper: the next year, 1926, in Paris, his circus of miniature moveable performers is born. The author gracefully communicates the artist's resourcefulness and sense of play: 'His huge hands worked with tiny pieces of wire, cork, cloth, buttons, yarn.... He twisted and shaped and curled and cut and curved until... Sandy was ready to put on a big-top circus show!' Kulikov (Fartiste) experiments with proportion and scale. Elements are often shown in black-and-white, as if sketched out and superimposed on full-color paintings. Spreads bring readers eye to eye with diminutive circus actors as Calder's gargantuan-seeming hands reach out from the shadows to control them. A classical muse, paint palette in hand, floats over scenes of a giant, suitcase-toting Calder tromping between the shrunken black-and-white skylines of Paris and New York City. Suggestive of Calder's whimsy. Ages 6 — up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Focusing on a single, grand project, Tanya Lee Stone and illustrator Boris Kulikov reveal the perpetual-motion life of Alexander Calder (1898-1976). He is introduced as a child of artists who provided him with all the tools he could use. Page after page depicts him creating remarkable objects: a castle for his sister's doll, made from scraps of wood, wire and leather; impromptu wire portraits of friends... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) he met on the streets of Paris. Stone's text is a lovely distillation of the evolution of Calder's magnificent miniature circus (which he carried around in five suitcases for performances), and Kulikov's illustrations are an amazing feat of their own. Featuring enchanting mixtures of full color and black and white, each one delivers a quirky, compelling perspective: the bird's-eye view of Calder on the edge of a ship, awestruck by "a fiery red sunrise" on one side and a full moon shining on the other; the vision of Calder walking back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean between Paris and New York; and an ant's-eye view of him setting his wire circus animals and performers in motion. Young readers will also learn that he invented the mobile, the playful sculptural form that likely pleased them and their parents not so long ago. Abby McGanney Nolan regularly reviews children's books for The Washington Post Book World. Reviewed by Abby McGanney Nolan, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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Artist Alexander Sandy Calder was always fiddling with odds and ends, which led him to create wire sculptures. One day Sandy made a lion, then a lion's cage. Before he knew it he had an entire circus and was traveling between Paris and New York performing a brand-new kind of art. Full color.
As a boy, Alexander ?Sandy? Calder was always fiddling with odds and ends, making objects for friends. When he got older and became an artist, his fiddling led him to create wire sculptures. One day, Sandy made a lion. Next came a lion cage. Before he knew it, he had an entire circus and was traveling between Paris and New York performing a brand-new kind of art for amazed audiences.
This is the story of Sandy?s Circus, as told by Tanya Lee Stone with Boris Kulikov?s spectacular and innovative illustrations. Calder?s original circus is on permanent display at the Whitney Museum in New York City.
About the Author
Like Tony Sarg, Melissa Sweet loved to figure out how to make things move as a child. (At age 6 she even took apart her marionettes to figure out how they worked.) Today she still plays with simple materials and constructions in her brilliant mixed-media collage illustrations, for which she has won a Caldecott Honor and two NYTimes Best Illustrated citations. She has also created many popular paper and baby gifts produced by eeBoo and recognizably Sweet. She and her husband and dogs live in the charming seaport town of Rockport, Maine.
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