Author: Hopkins, Lee Bennett
Fourteen poems introduce readers to the various construction people who collaborate to create a high-rise hotel building.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (03/01/20)
School Library Journal (03/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 PreS-Gr 4—This compilation of 14 poems, assembled by the late Hopkins, is an ode to the diverse types of people that are needed to erect a building. Fittingly, the poems feature many different poets' voices. Rebecca Kai Dotlich's opening and closing poems bookend the reading experience ("What Will I Become?" and "What I Am"). The work opens with the building thinking about its future, knowing only that it "will rise." A close-up view of the plans for Hopkins Towers accompanies the text. Readers then move through the stages of construction, from the architect's musings to the backhoe operator that digs the foundation, to the glaziers that add the windows. Most of the poems focus on the "construction people," their thoughts, feelings, and specialized knowledge as they conduct their jobs. Dotlich's poems do not fit this narrative theme: they take on the voice of the building. Similarly, Ralph Fletcher's "Cement Speaks" provides the cement's perspective on the construction process. Shi's design and artwork employ a muted color scheme (browns and blues) to capture the dirt and sky. Pops of color (a red bucket, a welder's orange uniform) encourage the eye to dance across the page as the skyscraper grows. The depictions of the workers include a variety of genders and races, which makes the book feel warm and inclusive. VERDICT This is the prolific Hopkins's last collection of poetry and a high-interest topic for young people. It will surely attract attention. Recommended.—Shannon O'Connor, Unami Middle School, Chalfont, PA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 This anthology from the late Hopkins collects 14 verses from a range of poets that celebrate and educate on the many roles, tools, and processes vital to the construction of a building—in this case, a skyscraper. Entries track the process in order, beginning with the architect’s blueprints and going on to cover backhoes, dump trucks, cement (from its own point of view), crane operators, welders, carpenters, plumbers, project managers, glaziers, elevator installers, and electricians. It’s a wonderfully comprehensive bunch, with Shi’s illustrations capturing each step of the collaboration. Smiling workers labor beneath sweeping blue skies, with the same architect and her daughter serving as a visual touchstone as they watch their plans unfold. Each spread bears a single poem, often making use of rhythm, rhyme, and onomatopoeia—though the verses eschew silliness in favor of wonder, respect, and information. This poetry collection works as a literacy tool for early elementary groups, a natural launchpad for writing prompts, or a more involved introduction to the world of construction. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.