Matt Tavares Books
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text by Doreen Rappaport, illustrations by Matt Tavares

*starred review in Horn Book
*starred review in Booklist
*starred review in Kirkus Reviews
*starred review in School Library Journal
2008 Book Links Magazine "Lasting Connections" selection
2009-2010 Texas Bluebonnet Award, Master List
2008 Parents' Choice Awards, Gold Award
2008 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award
2009 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
2009 Capitol Choices, Noteworthy Book for Children
2009 International Reading Association Teacher's Choices List
2009 CCBC Choices
2008 Librarians' Choices selection
2009 Teachers' Choices
2010-2011 Virgina Readers' Choice Award finalist
2011-2012 Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award finalist
2010-2011 South Carolina Children's Book Award finalist
Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators "The Original Art" exhibit, 2008

Liberty illustration

Blog reviews of Lady Liberty: A Biography:

Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

The Excelsior File


YA Books Central

The Reading Zone


Just One More Book- Podcast

Picture Book of the Day

Into the Wardrobe

Writing and Ruminating

Becky's Book Reviews

The Book Report- Podcast

The Well-Read Child

A Patchwork of Books



A Lovely Shore Breeze

Mitali's Fire Escape


"In Matt Tavares, Rappaport has been matched with a wonderfully sympathetic illustrator. Where she gives the reader a first-person description of Lady Liberty's making, Tavares creates images with pageantlike grandeur. He achieves this by arranging the figures in classically simple compositions and through his use of light. When we first encounter the statue, for instance, it is backlighted against the sun, turning it into a near silhouette. Later the statue is shrouded in haze; at another point it is theatrically lighted by the first rays of dawn. Eventually, in a lift-up flap, the statue emerges triumphantly out of the fog. Tavares's talent for depicting physical operations is particularly evident in the pictures dealing with the sawing, nailing, pounding and shaping that went into making the 151-foot copper statue. There is one particularly beautiful picture showing the wooden armature for the hand holding the torch. Tavares has lovingly delineated each of the laths as they turn in space to form the shape, and he has painted the workers bending so benevolently to attend to this huge hand that they could be monks at a religious ceremony. An image of the workers digging the foundation achieves a muralistic monumentality, their simplified brown bodies almost merging with the earth their shovels have carved."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Tributes to the Statue of Liberty abound, but this one stands out for its unusual approach and powerful illustrations.... Generally viewed from low angles, all of the solid, serious human figures in Tavares's three-quarter-spread paintings bulk larger than life, and lead up to a spectacular climactic foldout view of the monument towering into cloudy skies on the rainy day of her unveiling. Closing with heartfelt comments from several immigrants or their children, this adds up to a stirring reminder of what Lady Liberty stands for."
*Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Large in scale and monumental in effect, the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations, including a dramatic vertical fold-out page showing Lady Liberty at her unveiling, offer often beautiful views of her many-faceted story."
*Booklist (starred review)

"This handsome, thoroughly researched picture book tells the story of the statue from conception to dedication from the points of view of many different players in Liberty's dramatic life... The book's unique structure enables Rappaport to pack a wealth of background and detail into the text in an interesting, engaging way.... Tavares's evocative paintings bring each perspective to life, from images of an immigrant's outstretched arms to the countless workers measuring, building, and digging. A beautiful, innovative volume."
*School Library Journal (starred review)

"Tavares's watercolor, pencil, and ink images complement each account precisely, emphasizing the intimacy of Rappaport's vignettes with either dramatic close-ups of the speaking characters or representations of smaller scenes from the text."
*Horn Book Magazine (starred review)

"There have been many children's books published about the Statue of Liberty but never one like this."
-Texas Bluebonnet Award Committee

"Tavares's realistic illustrations are at their best in the sweeping, angled perspectives of the construction and easily justify the book's large trim size. The full-bleed spreads culminate in a vertical gatefold of the copper icon sans weathered patina, instantly whisking readers to the triumphant moment of Liberty's unveiling in 1886."
-Publishers Weekly

"There are pages full of action, introspective pages, those with one person on them, and those with hundreds.
... I could look at the two-page spread of Joseph Pulitzer for hours and never grow tired of admiring Tavares's brilliant use of light, subtle blend of browns, and fine details of ordinary objects brought to life."
-YA Books Central

"...a stellar collaboration from noted history writer Doreen Rappaport and acclaimed illustrator Matt Tavares.... Large and lovely watercolor and ink paintings accompany each narrative poem. The piece de resistance is a vertical gatefold of the Lady gazing through the mist of New York Harbor. Unusual format, striking design and exceptional artwork allow "Lady Liberty: A Biography" to stand out from the crowd."
-Cleveland Plain Dealer

"...stunningly illustrated.... The book is a reverent and passionate portrait of this great and welcoming symbol of America and a tribute to those who helped breate it."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares invigorate a cultural icon.... New faces, great illustrations."
-Chicago Tribune

"...As ambitious and oversize as its subject.  It's a book for which adults must slow their reading speed, and with which children may dream their way up the winding stairs into Liberty's very crown, high above the clouds."
-Boston Globe

"The artwork not only complements the text, it also beautifully illustrates both the process of building the Statue of Liberty and the great celebration when it was completed."

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LADY LIBERTY. Text Copyright © 2008 Doreen Rappaport. Illustrations © 2008 Matt Tavares. Candlewick Press, Cambridge, MA.