Title: Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder
Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrator: Boris Kulikov
Publisher: Viking Children's Books
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.6
Concepts: human resources, innovation, invention
Review: Alexander “Sandy” Calder, a famous American artist and sculptor, loved nothing more as a child than making objects from scraps of wood, leather, and wire that he found around the house and neighborhood. He built a miniature castle for his sister, made toys and jewelry for his friends, and created abstract shapes using his imagination as a guide. Although Sandy studied engineering in college, he did not find his subsequent jobs satisfying, and he returned to his love of art. A trip to Paris led Sandy to design a set of miniature circus figures made from wire, cork, buttons, cloth, and other scraps. He used these figures to put on animated circus shows before delighted audiences in both Paris and New York.
As the number of figures grew to fill five suitcases, the popularity of Cirque Calder also grew and helped to establish Sandy’s reputation as an innovative and talented artist. He later invented the mobile (a sculpture made with wire that gently spins in the air), a popular art form that hangs over baby cribs around the world. Sandy’s Circus is a well-researched book that will find appeal among adults and children for its interesting story and dramatic illustrations. Mixed into this snapshot of Alexander Calder’s life are some important economics lessons related to innovation and human resources. This valuable book will add nicely to any collection of children’s books with substantive content and an entertaining story.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children