At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

by Rachel Isadora
     
 

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The children of a South African village eagerly gather at the crossroads to welcome their fathers, who have been away for months working in the mines. The children wait, but the men don't come. So the children keep waiting. And waiting. They wait all through the night, until the dawn brings both the day and the longed-for loved ones.A "lively portrayal of young

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Overview

The children of a South African village eagerly gather at the crossroads to welcome their fathers, who have been away for months working in the mines. The children wait, but the men don't come. So the children keep waiting. And waiting. They wait all through the night, until the dawn brings both the day and the longed-for loved ones.A "lively portrayal of young children in a South African village eagerly awaiting their fathers' homecoming after ten months of working in the mines....A unique glimpse...and one that deserves a place in all collections."—School Library Journal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In spare, forthright prose, the author of Ben's Trumpet tells the poignant story of a homecoming. For a group of black children living in a South African shanty town, it is a very special day; after working in the mines for 10 months, their fathers are returning home. After school, the youngsters run to the crossroads to wait. Excitedly, they make music on instruments fashioned from wire, sticks and cans. A large group gathers and then gradually disbands as the sun sinks in the sky. But six resolute children wait patiently through the night. Finally, at dawn a rumbling truck appears, bringing the long-awaited fathers. Isadora's watercolors are equally effective--and affecting--depicting the blazing sky at sunset and the expressions on the children's faces, at once hopeful and apprehensive. Ages 4-up. ( May )
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- All over the world, children look forward to their parents' return from work. The perspective of this universal anticipation is expanded in this lively portrayal of young children in a South African village eagerly awaiting their fathers' homecoming after ten months of working in the mines. The celebration begins early in the morning, builds throughout the day, and is subdued but sustained until the following dawn when the men finally arrive at the village crossroads. The lifestyle and the setting are observed honestly and sensitively, without romanticism or sensationalism, as adults go about their daily routines and children fashion homemade musical instruments from salvaged scraps. The rhythm and repetition of the simple text evoke the jubilation and expectant mood of the children and reinforce their enthusiasm. Set against finely detailed depictions of village structures and striking landscapes, the expressive, impressionistic portraits of children and adults are best viewed at a distance, but blend beautifully in the perfectly composed watercolor illustrations. A unique glimpse of a familiar situation that is transformed into an extraordinary event through its foreign context, and one that deserves a place in all collections. --Starr LaTronica, North Berkeley Library, CA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688131036
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/1994
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,411,898
Product dimensions:
8.62(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Lexile:
260L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina—and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is a dancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina—and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is a dancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

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