I wasn’t always a resident of New York. Nope. In my day I’ve lived in every exotic locations from Richmond, Indiana to Kalamazoo, Michigan. In my travels I’ve also run across my fair share of public art, and I like what I’ve seen. Public art is great. New York really doesn’t have as much of it as it should either.
So when I saw the Oz and Ends piece the other day that featured the public sculpture of Lentil (shown below) I was intrigued. Check it out.
That there is a statue that gets everything right. The jaunty step. The fact that it looks two seconds away from sauntering away from you. The dog. The sculptor is a Ms. Nancy Schon. She’s probably best known for her Make Way for Ducklings statues. This one can be found in the Boston Public Garden:
Fear not, residents of Moscow, Russia. She made one for you too.
And with Pooh in mind, she’s even created this tableau of Eeyore and Pooh at the Newton Free Library of Newton, Mass.
Eeyore was established in 1991. Eventually he looked so sad that Pooh was made in the memory of Sarah Oliver who had written the mayor asking for Eeyore to have a friend.
Then I get to thinking… what are some of the other children’s literary statues out there? Off the top of my head, the first ones to come to mind are of the Beverly Cleary ilk. For example, the children’s room located in the St. Paul Library’s main branch has this drop dead gorgeous bust of Ramona Quimby. Unfortunately, no picture exists of it online. What does exist online are the busts of Ramona that appear in the Gresham Regional Library of Gresham, Oregon.
Oregon is actually an ideal place to scout about for Beverly Cleary statues. Heck, the woman even has her own sculpture garden. Here are Henry, Ribsy, and another Ramona (with the Clearys), respectively:
Of course, New York has its own little sculptural darlings. I am referring, of course, to Alice in Central Park. In my opinion that statue is the strongest piece of structural engineering of this or any other age. The fact that the combined strength of millions of children has not yet pulled off one of Alice’s hands or the doormouse from his perch has got to be nothing short of a miracle.
And lest we forget, there is a certain statue in Central Park that appears with every single one of my postings. In case you have ever wondered why the chin in my headshot appears to be resting on a bronze hand, here is a rejected shot of me hunched awkwardly with a tiny Ugly Duckling cuddled close.
It’s right by the Hans Christian Andersen statue. You can’t miss it.
And what about the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens?
Eeyore, by the way, appears to be an oddly popular statue. There’s another one of him available in Eastwood Park in Austin, Texas. At least, I think there is. The article I found suggested that perhaps Eeyore hasn’t found adequate funding to be cast and set yet.
If you guys know of any other examples of this kind of thing, alert me. Statuary is fascinating. Now where are all the young adult novel characters rendered bronze? Wouldn’t you just love to see The Chocolate War immortalized? Yeah . . . maybe not so much.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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