Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday (14)

As part of the Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge 2012 (Twitter: #nfpb2012), my goal is to read and review as many of the new non-fiction picture books that are released this year.  Wednesdays will be my primary day to post the reviews.

Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up on Mount Rushmore
Author: Tina Nichols Coury
Illustrator:  Sally Wern Comport
Publisher:  Dial Books (May 10, 2012)
Number of Pages: 40
Source: Copy for Review
Audience: ages 7 to 10
Biographical * Nonfiction

Description from Goodreads:
Growing up in the shadow of Mount Rushmore

Lincoln Borglum was a young boy when his father, the great sculptor Gutzon Borglum, suggested to a group of South Dakota businessmen that he should carve the faces of four presidents into a side of a mountain as an attraction for tourists. But Mount Rushmore would never be finished by Gutzon. It would be his son who would complete the fourteen-year task and present America with one of its most iconic symbols.

My thoughts on this book:
Some things seem to just be a part of life.  Often times, I don't stop to think about who built the Golden Gate Bridge, or who was the person who created the Statue of Liberty or in this case, who carved four presidential faces into a mountain side.  In Tina Nichols Coury's book Hanging off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up on Mount Rushmore, readers discover how this amazing monument came into being. 

Though the book begins by talking about the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who designed the monument, the book is really a nod to Borglum's son Lincoln.  As a famous sculptor, and according to Coury, the only mountain carver in the world (at that time), Borglum's wife and children followed him wherever there was work.  Young Borglum didn't see himself as inheriting his father's talent, but he did elect to learn many skills at the side of his father.  Most importantly, Lincoln Borglum worked to learn every job that went into creating the monument on the South Dakota mountain face.  This willingness to try and learn all the jobs impressed the crew.  When Lincoln's father passed away in March 1941, before the job was completed, it was the vote of confidence from his family and crew that swayed the Mount Rushmore Commission to place Lincoln in charge of finishing the job.

Even after reading all about how this incredible monument came into being, I am still in awe of the hard work and dedication of the men who created Mount Rushmore.  I marvel at the challenges that they faced and yet they didn't back down or give up.  I wonder at times if children understand what a challenge it really was to complete a project like this.  I can only hope that by exposing them to stories such as this one that they will consider what project would be their personal "Mount Rushmore" and how they might go about accomplishing that task.

Sally Wern Comport's illustrations nicely compliment Coury's text and Hanging off Jefferson's Nose would be a nice addition to a biographical nonfiction section of a classroom or school library.  

Check out the following book trailers:

Official Book Trailer

Official Book Trailer with Theme Song:


For more information about author Tina Nichols Coury, check out her  Website

If you are participating in the Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge, don't forget to link up your reviews.