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Reviewed by:
  • Construction People by Lee Bennett Hopkins
  • Elizabeth Bush
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, comp. Construction People; illus. by Ellen Shi. Word-Song,
2020 [30p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68437-361-1 $17.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 2-5

Hopkins compiles fourteen poems that collectively pay tribute to the workers, from architects to glaziers and welders and plumbers, who raise up the high rises on our skylines. In Rebecca Kai Dotlich's bookended verses, the edifice itself provides existential musings rife with imagery and majestic cadence: "Where fog swirls,/ where rain clouds swell,/ where thunder cracks and cries/ I will rise." A few entries bobble, but most contributions, such as Allan Wolf's "Song of the Welders" ("We build the bones that hold the shell./ We are the wizards of the weld") and Joan Bransfield Graham's "Glaziers" ("With patient skill,/ we measure,/ cut, and size—/ to give this/ growing building/ high-rise eyes"), offer rewarding aesthetics while varying in poetic style. Shi's digital illustrations, textured and painterly, offer details of each featured job from ground up, with ongoing appearances of the architect and her daughter as they move from office drawing board to construction site. With the flexibility for reading silently or aloud, solo or with a group, this collection will have broad audience appeal.



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Launched on MUSE
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