Burleigh, Robert

Wilbur Wright Meets Lady Liberty

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Wendell Minor. For each of these two biographical picture books of American icons, Burleigh and Minor (Night Train, Night Train, rev. 11/18; Tiny Bird, rev. 5/20; and others) focus on one signal achievement in their subject's career. For Winslow Homer, they imagine the artist in his Prouts Neck studio, painting the Maine coast just outside the window. The text here is more effusive than fact-bearing ("Elated, Winslow steps to the very rim of the rocks, once more feeling the force of wind and waves stir his soul: majestic, free, wild, untamed--forever!") but does convey the power of artistic creation, while the gouache illustrations themselves re-create the wild waves and obdurate rocks in a way that evokes Homer without imitating him. Wilbur Wright gets a more straightforward accounting, in this case of his six-and-a-half-minute flight around the Statue of Liberty in 1909. Technical information is slight, but Burleigh successfully imparts the drama of the flight (for both the aviator and the crowd below) and its place in the history of aviation and the Wright brothers' accomplishments. And where Minor's paintings for the Winslow Homer book are all power and passion, here they look almost lighter than air, fine-lined and delicate; just right. Both books include extensive back matter about their subjects in general and these slices of their lives in particular. Review covers these titles: Breaking Waves and Wilbur Wright Meets Lady Liberty.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

This coverage is free for all visitors. Your support makes this possible.

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.