TITLE: DREAM SOMETHING BIG
AUTHOR: Dianna Hutts Aston
ILLUSTRATOR: Susan L. Roth
PUBLICATION INFO: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2011
INTENDED AUDIENCE: age 4 – 8 (Kirkus)
GENRE: picture book (nonfiction, I think)
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“One chip of tile. Uncle Sam held it in his hand, studying it, his imagination turning like a kaleidoscope. He put it in his pocket. ‘I’m gonna do something big,’ I heard him say.”
Dianna Hutts Aston tells the tale of how a reclusive Italian immigrant spent 34 years building the Watts Towers — now a National Landmark — out of rebar, mesh, broken glass and tile. Then he gave a neighbor the deed to the property and walked away.
THEMES/TOPICS: history, folk art
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Roth’s collages are the perfect accompaniment to this little-known story, evoking the towers’ mosaics. Aston’s story is a fascinating look at a little-known folk artist told simply for the youngest readers. It sends the message that anyone can be an artist.
- Aston’s book contains instructions for building your own Watts Towers out of pipe cleaners and other craft materials.
- Learn more about the Watts Towers, including how to visit, here.
- A 1957 video about the towers and Simon Rodia can be found here. A documentary called, “I Build the Tower” is also available.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.