There's a fire in me, just like that torch." Devon visits the Metal Man at his fiery workshop every day, despite the scorching heat of the city where he lives. At the Metal Man's shop, sparks fly from his welding torch as he cuts and melts together old pieces of junk into works of art. Devon is fascinated by the Metal Man's creations. Then one day, the Metal Man lets Devon put his own imagination to work. Aaron Reynolds's urban voice and the gritty illustrations of Paul Hoppe bring an exciting beat and pulse to the story of a young boy discovering his own voice and vision in art with a kind mentor to lead the way.
K-Gr 4-This unusual picture book is a tribute to a real metal sculptor, Mitch Levin, a friend of the author. Devon, a young African-American boy, loves to watch "Metal Man" create art out of junk in his city workshop. When he envisions a house in a shining star, the sculptor helps him to bring his idea into reality. Beautifully understated, the story is about the capacity of art to empower the artist and to affect how others see the world. The poetic text is visceral-readers experience the sounds, vibrations, textures, and heat of the metal shop. "'Whatcha makin', Metal Man? I say./He don't answer. He never does./'Whaddya see?' That's all he says." The cartoon illustrations, in rusty browns and shiny blues, depict the metal man as tall, strong, gentle, and wise, a larger-than-life hero. He encourages Devon to embrace his own vision, but also protects him from the dangerous tools he is not ready to use. In the space of an afternoon, the youngster grows in understanding and confidence. A wonderful example of sensory writing and colloquial storytelling, this would be an excellent book to read before embarking on art projects, museum trips, art-appreciation lessons, or community-helper units, and will inspire independent readers with a desire to try their own hand at sculpture or artistic creation.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.