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Denver
     

Denver

by David McKee
 

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Nominated for the 2011 Kate Greenaway Medal, a picture book from beloved children's author David McKee about being content with one's life

Denver is rich—very, very rich, and everyone in the village loves him for his kindness and generosity. But one day a stranger arrives, who breeds discontent by telling the villagers it isn't fair for Denver to have

Overview

Nominated for the 2011 Kate Greenaway Medal, a picture book from beloved children's author David McKee about being content with one's life

Denver is rich—very, very rich, and everyone in the village loves him for his kindness and generosity. But one day a stranger arrives, who breeds discontent by telling the villagers it isn't fair for Denver to have so much more than they do. When Denver hears what has happened, he divides his money equally between everyone. He moves to a new village, where he lives happily and is better appreciated, but for the old villagers life just is not the same without him.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
An utterly odd paean to trickle-down economics, British-style, this adult-centric examination of wealth, generosity and greed won't garner much interest. Denver, a red-haired gent with a sweet smile, has a big house, large staff, pleasant temperament and loads of money. He patronizes local businesses and gives gifts to children at Christmastime. All is well until an unnamed troublemaker suggests that the current situation is unfair. Easily swayed, the local villagers begin to resent Denver's good fortune. Amazingly enough, he decides to share his wealth. Initially thrilled, the villagers wind up even more unhappy than before after they squander their money and Denver is no longer available to support their community. Our hero, meanwhile, has moved on to another pleasant little town, where his hobby, painting, earns him an excellent living and brings financial success to his new neighbors. In closing, readers are warned to ignore the efforts of the stranger who is still "wandering around breeding discontent." Childlike artwork features flat figures with simply drawn features posed against vividly colored backgrounds. Humorous touches enliven some pictures, but in general the illustrations appear static, further distancing listeners from the abstract ideas raised by McKee. Ultimately there's no child-friendly story to enjoy, and neither the pro–status quo/anti-individualism message nor the unflattering portrait of the middle and working class as foolish and profligate is likely to resonate with U.S. readers. (Picture book. 6-8)
From the Publisher

"The illustrations . . . are superb as one would expect from McKee."  —Books for Keeps

"McKee's gentle humor and love of irony are in full force in this celebration of individuality and laughter."  —Publishers Weekly on Elmer

Children's Literature - Enid Portnoy
Would children like to meet an interesting man with red hair and a happy smile who is very rich? Many people work for this man, Denver, in the story. They give him anything he desires in his village. He is kind and thoughtful to everyone. As you turn the book's pages the village people Denver sees are drawn with big smiles on their faces and seem to enjoy what they are doing. What Denver wants to do most is to get out his artist easel and paint pictures. It is easy for young children to think that would be an interesting activity for them as well. Then a stranger comes into the village. The bright colors and smiling faces on the people disappear. This stranger is dressed all in black and not smiling. He stops and talks to the people. He tells them to listen to what he is saying about Denver, their friend. He asks them to think about why one man, Denver, seems to have everything he wants, and they do not. Denver walks around the village and hears people talking about how much he has and how little they have. Villagers do not feel very happy about this. The people begin to look different in the drawings. When Denver notices angry and unhappy faces around him he shares his money and objects with the people. He wants them to feel as happy as he does. Does that work? Can Denver make the people feel happy once again? Who is the mysterious stranger? David McKee presents children with many questions about what is happening to people in Denver's village. This story is more of a modern fable, it tries to teach a lesson about people who have too much, or people who think they do not have enough. Perhaps another question to think about is how do we measure what is "enough"? What do we need to feel happy? The simplicity in the storytelling will delight young school children, especially when accompanied by the colorful drawings that are a part of the author's style. Many of McKee's previous popular books use animals to explain an idea. By engaging listeners in a discussion of ideas and questions posed here, an adult may recognize how much some children identify with behavior in the world around them. For others, this is still an interesting story which makes listeners more thoughtful about sharing and being thankful for what they have. The bright figures and lovely colored drawings make us all grateful that David McKee has added another wonderful story to the list of his previous favorites. Reviewer: Enid Portnoy

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781842709634
Publisher:
Andersen Press, Limited
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"The illustrations are superb as one would expect from McKee."
—Elizabeth Schlenther, Books for Keeps

Meet the Author


David McKee is one of the best-known illustrators of picture books, having created such modern classics as the Elmer series. His first book was published in 1964, and his books are now published in more than 35 languages throughout the world.

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