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Down on the Winding Road
     

Down on the Winding Road

5.0 1
by Angela Johnson, Shane W. Evans (Illustrator)
 
An eloquent tribute to family and history

Jesse and his sister are city kids, so the journey into the country is amazing -- past sloe-eyed cows and emerald hills, under a cornflower sky. But the real treat waits at the end of the road: the Old Ones, the aunts and uncles of their father's youth who were old even then, who line up now to welcome their great-niece

Overview

An eloquent tribute to family and history

Jesse and his sister are city kids, so the journey into the country is amazing -- past sloe-eyed cows and emerald hills, under a cornflower sky. But the real treat waits at the end of the road: the Old Ones, the aunts and uncles of their father's youth who were old even then, who line up now to welcome their great-niece and -nephew, "looking and hugging just alike." After a vast country lunch, the Old Ones take the young to "the lake that they swam in when they were young -- and sit beside now that they are old." The kids don't sit. They find a tire swing, and before you know it, they are flying through the air and into the water, fully clothed and laughing. But it's the last day of summer vacation and suddenly time to leave. And there are the Old Ones lining up again -- all seven of them, waving good-bye, cherishing among them this newest family story for next year's reunion.

Johnson's launguage and selection of scenes are artfully simple and harmonize beautifully with Evans' full and double-page oil paintings. Together they are a heartwarming celebration of the continuity of life... (Booklist)

...(This book) is a testament to a journey well worth taking. (Riverbank Review, Spring 2000)

In this tender picture book, Johnson and Evans pay tribute to an enviable treasure: wise and loving family elders. Every summer a girl and her brother and father drive 'down the winding road' to the country, for a visit with the Old Ones, the seven aunts and uncles who raised Daddy. The Old Ones serve up a day filled with hugs, stories, memories, good times and good food that always ends too soon. And once the kids are on their way back to the city, they already miss the realatives with 'creased faces and warm hands to hold.' Carefully and rhythmically structured, the story unfolds in spare, evocative phrases that convey the child narrator's affection and win the readers' admiration. Evan's breezy oil paintings, featuring crisp greens and yellows, skillfully capture the sunny skies--and gentle smiles--of a special day in the coutnry. Evans easily shifts perspective from close-up to far away, showing his brightly clad folk storlling with ease through their familiar, bucolic surroundings. The Old Ones' faces, texture to look both leathery and soft, beam with love. (Publishers Weekly)

The only daughter in a family of five, Angela Johnson was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, and moved with her family to Ohio when she was barely two years old. She attended Kent State University and continues to live in Ohio, close to her family. Family ties remain strong and often inspire her writing. Ms. Johnson recently wrote Gone From Home: Short Takes (DK Ink, 1998). The Horn Book Magazine gave this collection of twelve short stories a starred review, calling it "remarkable," noting that "Johnson reflects on the human soul in all its variety, and in all its goodness....[and] with her unconventional humor and lightness, burnishes each story so that the ordinary becomes something else entirely." Kirkus Reviews lauded Ms. Johnson for "precisely--brilliantly--conveying complex situations and responses." Angela Johnson has received numerous awards, including the Pen/Norma Klein Award. Her picture book When I Am Old with You won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award and was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. Her distinguished novel Toning the Sweep received the Coretta Scott King Award. In addition, she is the author of another novel, Humming Whispers, as well as many other picture books, among them Tell Me a Story, Mama, which Kirkus Reviews called "an outstanding debut," and Julius, illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Dav Pilkey. She has also written board books, as well as a book of poetry. When she is not writing, this prolific author enjoys gardening and traveling. She says that she may go for months without actually writing anything but that there always comes a time when her daily experiences build up to a point when she feels compelled to start writing again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this tender picture book, Johnson (Gone from Home; When I Am Old with You) and Evans (Osceola; Shaq and the Beanstalk) pay tribute to an enviable treasure: wise and loving family elders. Every summer a girl and her brother and father drive "down the winding road" to the country, for a visit with the Old Ones, the seven aunts and uncles who raised Daddy. The Old Ones serve up a day filled with hugs, stories, memories, good times and good food that always ends too soon. And once the kids are on their way back to the city, they already miss the relatives with "creased faces and warm hands to hold." Carefully and rhythmically structured, the story unfolds in spare, evocative phrases that convey the child narrator's affection and win the readers' admiration. Evans's breezy oil paintings, featuring crisp greens and yellows, skillfully capture the sunny skies--and gentle smiles--of a special day in the country. Evans easily shifts perspective from close-up to far away, showing his brightly clad folk strolling with ease through their familiar, bucolic surroundings. The Old Ones' faces, textured to look both leathery and soft, beam with love. Ages 3-6. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
It is the last day of summer vacation and the family is loaded up in the car to head down the winding road, out of the city and into the rolling country hills where the old ones live. The old ones are eagerly awaiting the yearly visit and greet the youngsters warmly, with smiles and hugs. Shane Evans' illustrations poignantly capture the personalities of the older generation, with smiling eyes and compassionate gestures. The youngsters, curious buy shy, enjoy the company of their relatives in a day complete with family ritual as well as special treats. The story is a poetic reflection, simple and meandering as a winding road. Johnson's sense of nostalgia and appreciation for the small joys of family gatherings may be lost on young readers. 2000, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Inc., Ages 5 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Jessica Becker—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A young African-American girl describes her family's annual trip to the house of the Old Ones, her father's seven uncles and aunts who raised him. The text is a gentle, poetic, memory piece of family members so long together that they blend into a loving unit. The bold oil illustrations cut sharp, vibrant individuals but fail to extend the text. There are no answers in the pictures or the text should readers wonder why one aunt has her hair in rollers all day, which one is May, or how these people support themselves. Something went seriously wrong with the rendering of the Old Ones' white hair and/or beards; it looks like shaving cream or a really unfortunate wig choice. Water splashes also seem stark white atop a blue pond. Though the path that winds through the property has pleasing curves, the choice to leave the background totally white on one side of the path is not entirely successful. The text reads aloud nicely and could encourage discussion of older family members and extended families. The illustrations have merit in isolation but the oils overwhelm the fragile text. Johnson's followers and fans of Cynthia Rylant's more successful The Relatives Came (Bradbury, 1985) may want to add this offering.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
A poignant story about enduring bonds adds a special touch to a common family experience. Every summer, the young narrator of the story, her brother, and their parents drive far out of the city into the country to visit the "Old Ones," the aunts and uncles who raised the children's father. When all seven greet the newly arrived visitors, the love and affection between the generations almost jumps off the page. As one of the uncles shows the two children old framed photos on a wall in the house and as the family eats together, the sense of continuity among all the members of the family and the fondness each one feels for each other, for the house, and for the countryside is almost palpable. While the children play in the trees and lake where the Old Ones and the children's father once played, the Old Ones retell the familiar stories about their own childhoods. Of course, the inevitable comes—summer vacation ends and the visitors go back to the city. The illustrations, painted in oils, ably complement the text. The double-page spreads of grassy meadows and fields, which bleed off the page, work especially well, better perhaps than the pages with white backgrounds, which feel somehow too empty. A fine book about a strong African-American family and a moving story about the relationship between children and the older members of a family that doesn't involve death, Alzheimer's Disease, or dwell too heavily on other problems of aging. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789425966
Publisher:
DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
02/15/2000
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.38(d)
Lexile:
AD620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Angela Johnson is an American poet and children's book writer. Her children's picture books, including ,When I Am Old with You and A Sweet Smell of Roses, are poetic stories about African-American families and friendship. She has also written for teens, including the Michael L. Printz and Corretta Scott King Award-winning novel The First Part Last. She also won Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for Tell Me a Story, Mama.

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Down on the Winding Road 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
manirul01 More than 1 year ago
Lovely...! beautiful.....!.... Just enjoy it.....!