Birches

Birches

4.5 56
by Robert Frost, Ed Young
     
 

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From one of America's most widely quoted poet, a classic work is once again available in a beautiful illustrated picture book paperback.

Birches beautifully illustrates Frost's celebrated ability to blend observation, imagination, and poetry. Caldecott medalist Ed Young uses his own powers of observation and imagination to create an extraordinary series

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Overview

From one of America's most widely quoted poet, a classic work is once again available in a beautiful illustrated picture book paperback.

Birches beautifully illustrates Frost's celebrated ability to blend observation, imagination, and poetry. Caldecott medalist Ed Young uses his own powers of observation and imagination to create an extraordinary series of paintings that complement and extend the poem.

Robert Frost (1874 — 1963) is this country's best-loved poet. His work epitomizes the American affinity for plain speaking, nature, and the land.

Ed Young was born in China and spent his childhood in Shanghai. The illustrator of many books for children, he has received numerous awards, including a Caldecott Honor. Ed Young lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Emotionally sound and visually arresting, Young's interpretation of Frost's work is one of unqualified beauty," wrote PW. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
On the title page of this work is a rough silhouette of a farm; with this minute touch, Young expresses his affinity, and perhaps affection, for the poet's work and observations. Frost himself makes a dabbled appearance in watercolor in these pages, a white-haired man out strolling with his dog: ``So was I once myself a swinger of birches. / And so I dream of going back to be.'' Done in an impressionistic style, these paintingswith shadows darting like children among the birchesrepresent the recalled images of memory rather than concrete images of nature. This, too, seems a close representation of the poem's meaning. A final bittersweet spread reveals that the walker in the woods has gone on, leaving only tracks through the snow and his dog looking after him. Emotionally sound and visually arresting, Young's interpretation of Frost's work is one of unqualified beauty. Ages 6-10. (August)
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up Frost's spare phrases conjure up vividly concrete mental pictures which are not reflected in Young's lovely, but often abstracted and incongruent, watercolors. In double-page spreads above the cream band that contains the few lines of text per page, Young's flowing atmospheric washes catch the New England landscape in all seasons and moods, but neither their sweeps and splotches nor their impressionistic shapes that blur into precision get across that crucial central image of the bend of those trees toward earth. Their perspective is sophisticated and does convey something of the climb and descent imagery, but as a whole, the paintings provide a musical background rather than illumination of the poem. A literal interpretation isn't necessary, or perhaps even desirable, but there should be some congruence between art and text; and these softly frenzied abstractions tend to be disconcerting and dissonant. The full-color (but with an autumnal cast) pictures stand back; while adults may appreciate the non-interference with the text, children will find it distancing. The complete poem is reprinted at the end of the book, offering an intriguing contrast to seeing it page by page and illustrated. A Swinger of Birches (Stemmer House, 1982), a collection of 38 Frost poems for young people, illustrated by Peter Koeppen, is much less dramatic artistically, but a better straightforward introduction to the poetry. Susan Jeffers' illustrations for the picture book edition of ``Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening'' (Dutton, 1978) offer a better example of expansion of the text without contradiction or confusion. Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, Wash.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805005707
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
08/28/1988
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.14(w) x 10.34(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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