Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rushmore, a book review

We just read Rushmore by Lynn Curlee, and it's exactly the kind of book I look for to read with my children. Some interest in Mt. Rushmore had been generated by the second National Treasure movie, so I decided to follow up on that when I saw this book at a local library. The book is 48 pages with some of those pages being full page illustrations, and the text is medium sized with spacing between each line. The result is completely appropriate for the mid-elementary years – providing enough detail without getting bogged down. The story provides opportunities to talk about the time between the World Wars, the boom of the 20s, geography, immigration, art and sculpture, the Great Depression, politics and funding for federal projects, public works, the type of personalities needed to complete such a project, and engineering. And of course, adding biographies of the four presidents depicted, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the first Roosevelt, would make sense. It would make a fabulous spine for a unit study, and I'm not even into unit studies!

We followed up by looking at some photograps of the real Mt. Rushmore, since the illustrations in the book do not include photographs. I particularly liked these, which include some closups (look at the eyes!) and this one of the sculptures under construction.

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