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Silent Movie
illus. by C.B. Mordan
Atheneum/Anne
Schwartz Books, 2003
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Silent Movie

Black-and-white images follow one after another.
The story of an immigrant family alone in a big city.
Close-ups of a mother, a son—faces filled with heartache and joy.
Plenty of action.
Excitement.
Melodrama.
A silent movie.

Story Behind the Story

When I was a boy my usual Saturday Brooklyn mornings meant movies at the neighborhood St. George Theatre. Seven cartoons. A western. The March of Time newsreel, plus a chapter from some multi-part serial. Moreover, you received a gift for actually leaving the theatre.

For twenty-five cents.

For birthday parties my father rented and showed silent 16mm silent movie shorts: Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel & Hardy, among others. These films had a written aspect, what were called “titles.” The titles provided dialogue or narrative information. You had to read them. read more

Awards and Honors

ALA Notable
Booklist, starred review

Review

“True to the tender melodrama of the great silent movies, this picture book in black-and-white tells a happily-ever-after immigrant story from the early twentieth century… Clear, beautiful ink-on-clayboard illustrations … evoke the historical period as they tell a story about making a movie of the American dream. … Avi and Mordan both cite Chaplin as inspiration, and their book beautifully evokes the melancholy loner in City Lights.” (Booklist)

 
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