Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home Ages 6-10

Home. In this unique volume, prominent American writers from the past and present--Willa Cather, Henry David Thoreau, Eloise Greenfield--give voice to the region of the country each calls home. Thomas Locker's lavish oil paintings accompany each passage, transporting the reader from the crashing waves of the Pacific coast to the bluebonnet fields of the Texas prairie. Come along on a spectacular journey through our home--America.
Home: A Journey through America
By Thomas Locker, Candace Christiansen
Compiled by Thomas Locker
Illustrated by Thomas Locker
Edition: illustrated
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998
ISBN 015201473X, 9780152014735
32 pages
Lush and romantic paintings of a broad ...... range of landscapes illustrate the poetry and prose of a dozen American authors and poets, whose homes ranged from the Hudson River Valley to the midwestern prairies and beyond. Each spread includes a poem or other brief block of text about home, as well as a biographical snippet about the featured writer. On the opposite page is a painting that illuminates an aspect of the writing; in general, Locker's landscapes are august and riveting. The selection of those included is a hybrid: some names seem written in stone (Frost, Irving, Thoreau, Cather, Sandburg), while others are still very much of the earth (Bruchac, Yolen, Greenfield, Locker). Nevertheless, from the East Coast to the West, the book shows how individual feelings about nature and home have shaped the artistic efforts of writers.
Kirkus Reviews Copyright (c) VNU Business Media, Inc.
From Publishers Weekly
This visual pilgrimage to the native terrain of a variety of venerable writers suffers from Locker's visually homogeneous treatment of America's diverse landscapes. The journey begins in San Francisco, Robert Frost's birthplace (though most readers likely equate the poet with New England). His "Once by the Pacific" is comprised of strong, clear images: the "great waves" that "thought of doing something to the shore/ That water never did to land before"; the clouds, "low and hairy in the skies." In Locker's painting, however, power is diverted from Frost's fierce flexure of the sea to a purple-to-black sky brooding over agitated water and cliffs glanced by light. Throughout Locker's tour, his brush seems dipped in the Hudson Valley light of his own homeland, and not surprisingly, the standout paintings here are those paired with an excerpt from Washington Irving's "Rip Van Winkle"?depicting a leisurely sail up the Hudson River, the boat dwarfed by the dramatic Kaatskill mountains aflame at sunset?and his own "Birches in the Fall" with white trunks leaning inward, inviting readers down an autumn trail of golden grasses. But when called upon to conjure the Southwest of Pat Mora's "Gold" or the Amish country depicted in Merle Good's "Song of a People," Locker fails to capture the indigenous palette and mood. Unfortunately, the book seems driven by its theme, rather than a celebration of it. Ages 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up-American landscapes as viewed via paintings and words. Locker and Christiansen have collected poetic and narrative views of scenes from across the continent by such well-known writers as Robert Frost, John Muir, and Washington Irving as well as modern writers such as Pat Mora, Jane Yolen, and Joseph Bruchac. The oil paintings, in true Lockerian tradition, reflect an inner view of landscape, one reminiscent of early British painters who came to paint American scenes but made each of them look like home. This romanticized approach, relying not on accuracy, perspective, or detail, but rather on creating a mood, may appeal to adults but the use of the same color palette, massive cloud effects, and little action will not capture the imagination or hold the interest of children.
Ronald Jobe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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