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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's not much to be concerned about here, but some things may need explanation and context. This takes place during the Great Depression, and your kids may want to know why children are scavenging for firewood in the streets of New York.
Is It Any Good?
This is a fascinating, nonfiction book about the building of the Empire State Building, framed by a fictional story about a boy watching the process. His part, giving a few details of the Depression and including an out-of-work father, is told in an odd, second-person style that's distracting, but the framing device provides context and draws younger readers in.
Author Deborah Hopkinson tells the nonfiction part in clear prose that doesn't get in the way of the dramatic story, and gives plenty of facts without being overwhelming. But it's James Ransome's glowing oil paintings that make this slim volume soar. Pictures, large and small, from a variety of perspectives, culminate in a gorgeous two-page spread of the finished building at sunrise that gives a sense of the awe and majesty of the building, and the pride New Yorkers felt at their achievement in the depths of the Depression.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate