STEEL TOWN written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Terry Widener

January 5, 2009 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

steel-townHow is steel made? Who makes it? What does it do to the environment? Winter addresses these questions in this handsome, oversize picture book. We see the town that is always dark and rainy because the factory works around the clock and the chimneys belch out black smoke from fiery furnaces. Men work in shifts so the factory never shuts down. Pictures of the men, each wearing a hat and carrying a thermos, makes them appear robotic. The tons of coal  transported in never-ending tenders;  the men who stoke bottomless furnaces; the molten pig iron that pours from the furnace, gives the reader a sampling of what the old-fashioned vision of Hell is like.
And the noise – so loud that humans cannot be heard over the trains, furnaces and barges. When the end of the day comes, the robotic men climb the stairs to the pool halls or to their narrow houses. The only animated faces are those of the women who find pleasure meeting each other over backyard fences. Steel Town does not look like Fun Town, but it certainly makes its case at how hard and efficient the process of making steel is.

J Picture Book

Recommended- Lillian Hecker (PEL)

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