By: Judith Jango-Cohen
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: September 2010
It’s an unusual sight to see the faces of four United States presidents looking out at us from the side of a mountain. Today many people flock to see the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt that were carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. This series of carvings “stand for the country’s first 150 years.” Not many people are familiar with the man who came up with the idea for these magnificent carvings. His name was Gutzon Borglum. He and his son, Lincoln, chose the location in 1925. It was obvious why George Washington was chosen, but why were the other presidents selected?
He chose Thomas Jefferson because he “added new land to the United States, which doubled its size.” Borglum chose Abraham Lincoln because he “kept the country together,” and lastly he chose Theodore Roosevelt because he “had the Panama Canal built,” thus enabling us to travel from the east to the west easily. He then set about making a “model of the presidents” which “helped his workers make the giant carving.” In 1927 the project had begun. You will be able to see actual photographs of the dynamite blasting, men working in swinging cages, you’ll see them suspended from cables, you’ll watch as the faces emerge from the mountainside, and you’ll get to see a photograph of the memorial to the Rushmore Workers.
This is a fascinating look at Mount Rushmore, the man who designed it, and the workers who made his dream come true. In addition to the well written historical text, the selection of photographs makes this book especially interesting. This book uses Rembrandt Peale’s portrait of Washington, Charles Wilson Peale’s portrait of Lincoln, and photographs of the other two presidents. The period photographs of the actual work on the memorial are riveting. The young reader will quickly and easily get a mini lesson in United States history in these pages. In the back of the book is a generalized map of the “Mount Rushmore Area,” some “Fun Facts,” an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fascinating slice of American history, history that would be welcome in the homeschool and classroom setting!