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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 ...
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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.
The annual summer visit to the country home of the Old Ones, the uncles and aunts who raised Daddy, brings joy and good times.
Posted July 6, 2014