Dream Something Big (2011)
Dream Something Big (2011)
About book: I was so excited to find this book during my volunteer shift at the library. It was perfect for storytime at work. It is a kid's version of the amazing story behind the Watts Towers. The illustrations are colorful but I found the chaotic nature of the collage form off putting. I would have preferred a more classic form.Or kid's view photos, the work speaks for itself and is accessible to children, I think.That being said, the writing is great. I liked the patchwork, mosaic feel of Dream Something Big. It really complimented the story of Sam Watts building his whimsical towers in California. Uncle Sam (or Simon) is represented as a creative but very quirky, scraggly man, who talks to himself as he collects scraps and trash and then combines and reshapes them into gigantic, spiraling towers covered with bits of color. It's not completely clear whether he's creative or crazy, but the overall results of his work are incredible, especially considering that he never used a single nail or ladder to make his towers, one of which reaches 99 feet high. The story is charitable and somewhat sentimental, and stresses Sam's immigrant story as an Italian who came to the US and wanted to do something big. While his motivation--and his ultimate disappearance from the spotlight after his art was completed--is somewhat mysterious, he seems kind as he explains to the neighborhood children what he's doing.Uncle Sam, with his patriotic nickname, is following in the larger tradition of the American dream: of the idea that immigrants can come to the US and accomplish what they desire to do. The towers that he build also seem to follow in this vein, as he forms an amalgamation of the immigrant communities around him through using found scraps and including the words "Nuestro Pueblo" (Our Town) on the structures. In terms of change, Sam obviously changes the physical landscape of the neighborhood around him, as the train passengers see when they go past, and builds what becomes a National Landmark as a result of following his creative vision despite others' skepticism. Sam's way of being different from those around him runs counter to the traditional US ideas of "normal behavior" because of his amazing dedication, and his ultimate reluctance to be in the spotlight.
Little known art piece, simple story, mosaic illustrations complement the subject.
Interesting fictional story about the eccentric creator of the Watts Towers.
The illustrations were a deal-killer for me. I would have loved more photos.
This would be a good one for Big Kids Book Club.
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