Cover image for Rushmore
Curlee, Lynn.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 26 cm
Describes how this patriotic shrine and tourist attraction was conceived, designed, and created by the dedicated artist Gutzon Borglum.
Reading Level:
NC 1030 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 8.0 1.0 30841.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 6.7 3 Quiz: 19651.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NB237.B6 C86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NB237.B6 C86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NB237.B6 C86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NB237.B6 C86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
NB237.B6 C86 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



This is the fascinating story of how Gutzon Borglum, gifted sculptor and son of immigrants, overcame tremendous obstacles to create the world's most immense stone carving. Lynn Curlee's compelling narrative and stunningly composed, realistic paintings eloquently relate the monument's historical context and reveal fascinating details about its construction.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. In this picture book for older readers, Curlee takes children behind the scenes for a glimpse at the creation of the famous South Dakota monument. Delving into the history, he introduces the designer, Gutzon Borglum, creative and committed but also domineering, whose visionary sculpture was to undergo many changes before its completion by his son in 1941. Without getting too technical, the author describes what went into transferring the design to the rock, then carving and blasting it into recognizable shape. The text, which briefly covers the politics and the process and a few hints about the controversy surrounding it, is straightforward and readable, giving a sense of the creator and the difficult project. The layout is spacious and pleasing, as are the large, carefully executed paintings, which give readers a very general idea of the monument's scale. They even reflect the color of the granite in their blue and gray tones. But as attractive as they are, they make the monument seem cold and remote, rather than a warm, forceful testament to vision, hard work, and national pride. --Stephanie Zvirin

Publisher's Weekly Review

Curlee (Into the Ice: The Story of Arctic Exploration) presents a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of Mount Rushmore. South Dakota's state historian first came up with the idea of carving figures into the Black Hills during the 1920s, a notion that was quickly taken up by one of the state's senators as a way to pay tribute to history and draw more tourists to his remote state. The original planÄto carve figures representing the Old WestÄwas swept aside by the sculptor commissioned for the project, the egotistical but talented John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum. Curlee's story of Borglum's 17-year involvement in the arduous project brims with details of the politics surrounding the monumentÄa grassroots campaign to include Susan B. Anthony rather than Theodore Roosevelt as the fourth dignitary featured; the uproar that ensued when Borglum attempted to change Calvin Coolidge's condensed history of the United States, which the sculptor originally planned to inscribe on the monumentÄas well as the logistics involved (each morning the crew had a 40-story climb to the precipice to begin work; by the job's completion, they had blasted 450,000 tons of rock). The stark, flat feel of the acrylic paintings in stony shades of gray and blue mirror the dignified aura of their subject. Exploiting each spread, Curlee conveys the sensitivity in the faces of the giant chiseled sculpture while simultaneously demonstrating a sense of scale, with the sculptor rappelling from the nose of Washington or a worker examining Roosevelt's cheek. If readers have not yet made the trip to the Black Hills, Curlee's account will likely spur them on to visit. Ages 7-10. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A chronological description of the creation of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, from its inception in the 1920s by a state historian in South Dakota to its completion in 1941. This attractive, oversized book features large, single- and double-page acrylic paintings. The artwork is simple and touching, providing some sense of scale and illustrating the progress of the monument. While the paintings never quite seem to capture the immensity of this undertaking, they do provide a sense of poetic achievement and national pride. The writing is factual, straightforward, and, for the most part, unexciting. While Curlee discusses sculptor Gutzon Borglum's life and involvement with the project, there is little vivid imagery of what it took to imagine and engineer its completion. The undertaking never quite comes to life. And some questions of interest remain unanswered, e.g., how were the eyes of each sculpture designed to follow the viewer? Overall, this is a visually appealing if uninspired offering.-Rosie Peasley, Empire Union School District, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.