Book Review: Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner

Marvelous CorneliusTen years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. Some questioned whether it would ever be rebuilt. Yet, the efforts of many determined people—residents and volunteers from around the country and the world—have brought the city back from the brink and restored many of the areas that were affected.

Phil Bildner celebrates the recovery and the efforts of everyone who wouldn’t give up on New Orleans with a picture book called Marvelous Cornelius: Hurricane Katrina and the Spirit of New Orleans. The story is about Cornelius Washington, a sanitation worker in the French Quarter who captivated residents with singing, dancing, and performing tricks. Bildner shows how before the storm Cornelius’s pride in his work inspired those around him. After Katrina, that same can-do spirit and pride got people to pitch in on the clean up.

John Parra’s compelling illustrations capture the French Quarter scene, with the pigeons, iron-lace-work balconies, street cars, brick sidewalks, and lively residents. A note at the end talks about the life of the real Cornelius and the author’s experience in New Orleans. I recommend Marvelous Cornelius for readers aged 3 to 6 and their parents.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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