I have a ton of reader copies that are picture books. The great thing about them is you can read one or two (or three) at lunch. This particular picture book, A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead took a little longer than usual. Partly because of that really long title!
However, once you get into Evan Turk’s story, you know it was worth it. As a child of the 15th century Italy, Marietta was fascinated by her father’s work. However, he favored his sons, and they were allowed to work. One day, he lets Marietta enter the shop. Allows her to hold the pipe he was using to blow the glass. That day she felt fear and fell in love with glass blowing. And despite the teasing of her brothers and despite the rules of being a woman, Marietta became one of the only women to open a shop, become a glass blower and made history.
Little is known about Barovier, but Turk takes what is known and tosses in poetic license to make a possible look at one woman’s journey. Turk’s illustrations are romantic, colorful and bring to life this world. They are realistic, but dreamlike and somewhat unreal. The details explode onto and off the bag. Everything is busy, messy, and organized. They are a contradiction to the precision one must take to create blown glass, and the special beads that would be created. Yet, they are also organized.
While all ages can enjoy, the age range of 5 to 8 would most likely be the best audience. However, I can see this in a classroom setting if studying art, women’s history, world and/or Italian history for any age. Even adults can take something from Turk’s book.