Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey Through America's Farmland

Overview

On today's farm, B is for barn cat...E is for erosion...G is for grinding feed, and I is for...inoculate?  In 26 beautifully detailed spreads, acclaimed illustrator Arthur Geisert takes readers on a literal journey following a real road in Iowa (County Road Y31) through the ins and outs of America's farmland.  This isn't your grandfather's farm book. It still features pigs, hay, and other familiar farm residents, but you'll see a very different kind of quicksand and traffic jam here...Along the bottom ...

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Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey Through America's Farmland

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Overview

On today's farm, B is for barn cat...E is for erosion...G is for grinding feed, and I is for...inoculate?  In 26 beautifully detailed spreads, acclaimed illustrator Arthur Geisert takes readers on a literal journey following a real road in Iowa (County Road Y31) through the ins and outs of America's farmland.  This isn't your grandfather's farm book. It still features pigs, hay, and other familiar farm residents, but you'll see a very different kind of quicksand and traffic jam here...Along the bottom of each page is a continuous panorama that totals nearly forty feet of art. Country Road ABC is a unique and funny look at America's present-day farmland.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this loving record of the Midwest farm community in which he lives, Geisert (Hogwash) memorializes a way of life that has dwindled to a small population of stalwarts. Pastoral charm is not Geisert's aim; eschewing apples and aprons, he begins with “A is for ammonia fertilizer.” His finely worked etchings, colored in muted shades, sweep across a sprawl of fields and roads, from a sandy gully being filled in by backhoe (“E is for erosion”) to a boarded-up schoolhouse at the top of a rise (“U is for uphill”), its schoolyard occupied by sheep (the book's sly glossary defines uphill as “where the schoolhouse used to be located. Both ways, of course”). Each spread shows a single farm scene, while along the bottom a continuous scroll of country road runs through the farm year, from planting to harvest to deep snowfall. Much visual information about farming is provided for lovers of tractors and farm animals, but it's more than a simple picture book; it's a deeply personal account, down to the list of thank-yous on the book's final pages, to the owners whose farms he's drawn. Ages 5–8. (May)
From the Publisher
"Much visual information about farming is provided for lovers of tractors and farm animals, but it's more than a simple picture book; it's a deeply personal account, down to the list of thank-yous on the book's final pages, to the owners whose farms he's drawn"—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Only someone who's walked the walk and driven the tractor—and is immensely creative besides—could take readers on such an accurate, realistic and fascinating alphabetic farmland journey. With his signature etchings, Geisert has illustrated an amazing homage to American farms and farmers. [...]A simply glorious barn and farm opus. " —Kirkus Reviews, starred Review

"While the alphabetic arrangement provides an organizational scheme and an informational resource, children will return to the illustrations to revel in Geisert's detailed etchings of farmers working and relaxing. The story spans the four seasons with touches of humor, solemnity, and of course, pigs a-plenty. Several scenes, rendered in strong, black silhouettes, lend an air of calm and contrast. Children may enjoy comparing the style and subject matter to Alice and Martin Provensen's Town and Country (Harcourt, 1994)."—School Library Journal

"...a refreshingly realistic view of contemporary rural life[...]the clever design and highly detailed color etchings that stand out. [...]both city and country kids will want to return to its elaborately illustrated pages for repeated viewings.—Booklist

"Geisert's take is unique, combining a fresh look at modern family farming in the Midwest with an unerring eye for detail. . . While this book is perfect for alphabet learners who have a fascination with farms and machinery, it also serves as a document of twenty-first-century agriculture and as a love letter to Geisert's home."—The Horn Book Magazine

"Much of the fun is in orienting the close-up image of each alphabetical feature into the unfolding panorama at the bottom of the page, particularly when the feature is hidden in plain sight at a tricky angle. There's nothing like a leisurely visit to Midwest farm country, especially if you don't have to muck out the barn."—The Bulletin

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—A storm is unleashed over a city on the title page. As the story progresses, the sky clears and readers travel with a school bus, trucks, and other vehicles into a rural landscape. Each spread is devoted to an uppercase letter, a corresponding word, and a small black-and-white rendering of a concept or object. The road—surrounded by unfolding, full-color scenes of farms, a firehouse, a bar, a diner, a church, a rural town on the Fourth of July, and other assorted places—continues to meander along the bottom of the pages. For those who aren't familiar with "ammonia fertilizer" (A) or "erosion" (E), a conversational glossary is provided. "X" marks a spot on Y's "County Road Y31"; the aerial view highlights the shape of the always-challenging letter nicely. While the alphabetic arrangement provides an organizational scheme and an informational resource, children will return to the illustrations to revel in Geisert's detailed etchings of farmers working and relaxing. The story spans the four seasons with touches of humor, solemnity, and of course, pigs a-plenty. Several scenes, rendered in strong, black silhouettes, lend an air of calm and contrast. Children may enjoy comparing the style and subject matter to Alice and Martin Provensen's Town and Country (Harcourt, 1994).—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Only someone who's walked the walk and driven the tractor-and is immensely creative besides-could take readers on such an accurate, realistic and fascinating alphabetic farmland journey. With his signature etchings, Geisert has illustrated an amazing homage to American farms and farmers. The choice of letter descriptors conveys his ingenuity: A for ammonia fertilizer; B for barn cats; I for inoculate (pigs against disease); Q for quicksand; X marks the spot for county road Y31 (longitude and latitude); Z for z-brace on the barn door. The rustic, rural scenes are far from static: K shows a nettled cow kicking a startled farmer; O depicts three people scratching their backs from the dust during an oat delivery. Outstanding composition of the diminutive and meticulous details makes hay with this close-up and wide-lens vista of farm life. A continuous panorama of the same road runs across the bottom of the spreads, along which sharp eyes will pinpoint the teensy icon of the letter depiction amid the broad picture. A simply glorious barn and farm opus. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-9)
Kristi Jemtegaard
Like a leisurely drive down a tree-lined lane, this homage to a still vibrant part of our country invites repeated visits.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547194691
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Series: . Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 566,956
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Geisert’s unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators’, annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.

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