Review of Liberty Arrives!: How America's Grandest Statue Found Her Home

Liberty Arrives!: How America’s Grandest Statue Found Her Home
by Robert Byrd; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Dial    40 pp.    g
6/19    978-0-7352-3082-8    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-0-5255-5451-6    $10.99

Byrd (Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner for Electric Ben, rev. 11/12) approaches his topic as systematically and artistically as did the Statue of Liberty’s sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, carefully detailing the whos, whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows behind the statue’s inception and throughout its construction, installation, and beyond. The text thoroughly explains each chronological step in the process, giving equal weight to technical details and the personalities of those involved (for example, Édouard de Laboulaye, the America-loving Frenchman who first conceived of the gift, “talked about the country all the time. America this. America that”). Each spread advances the larger narrative while providing specific details about various parts of the story, with frequent changes in setting and date marked with easy-to-follow design elements. Byrd expands his superbly detailed watercolor and ink illustrations by inserting telescopic circles that magnify details, such as the composition of the crowd that welcomes Lady Liberty when she arrives in New York. Concluding with a dramatic vertical, double-page portrait of the statue and appended with a timeline, additional information, a diagram illustrating scale, an author’s note, and a bibliography, this expansive book is as impressive as its subject. Read alongside Rappaport and Tavares’s exemplary Lady Liberty (rev. 7/08).

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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