Kellee's Reviews > Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder

Sandy's Circus by Tanya Lee Stone
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's review
Jul 18, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: nonfiction, mg-ya-picture-books, art
Read in July, 2012

Alexander Calder is one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. He is the son of 2 artists yet for the first 20 years or so of his life, he never thought was an artist or had any intention of making art. His love was engineering- building and fixing things; however, it wasn't until he went into the real world and couldn't find a job he loved did he begin to realize that what he loved was more than just engineering. This book is the story of what happens after Calder is inspired to become an artist.

This book does a great job of giving us a chronology of Calder's life as well as his art. I loved learning about his childhood and how the art he ended up becoming famous for had always been a talent of his, he just didn't realize it was his destiny. Before this book, I only knew of Calder's later work- his mobiles and stabiles- not the spectacular circus that is the co-star of this book. I love how Calder's work was not only art but engineering and imagination as well.

It would be so great as a teacher to use this book to introduce Calder then move onto an activity analyzing and discussing Calder's art and then finally allow students a chance to make their own "Calder".

"Even though Sandy loved creating things, he didn't always want to be an artist. He went to college and learned more about making things by studying to be an engineer. Sandy had different jobs but never really liked any of them.
Then he worked as a fireman in the boiler room of a ship. One night, he was sleeping up on the deck, sailing between San Francisco and New York. When he woke, he was awestruck. On one side of the ship was a "fiery red sunrise." On the other, the full moon shone "like a silver coin." The sight made Sandy want to go to art school, and he did." (p. 14)

"[H]e decided to go to Paris. Why Paris? Because that city was alive with art. And Sandy said, "In Paris it's a compliment to be called crazy."" (p. 17)

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