Grassroots

Overview

A painter’s deeply felt images match a poet’s timeless observations about the heart of America in this profound evocation of the texture of life in the Midwest. A sophisticated and beautiful book for all ages, Grassroots is Wendell Minor’s tribute to Carl Sandburg’s work and to the Midwest upbringing they both share.

Fourteen poems with mid-western themes or settings.

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Overview

A painter’s deeply felt images match a poet’s timeless observations about the heart of America in this profound evocation of the texture of life in the Midwest. A sophisticated and beautiful book for all ages, Grassroots is Wendell Minor’s tribute to Carl Sandburg’s work and to the Midwest upbringing they both share.

Fourteen poems with mid-western themes or settings.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dedicated "to all who remember their grassroots," Minor's full-page golden paintings of wind-blown wheat, holstein cows, winter shadows and summer grass take their inspiration from Sandburg's poetry in this handsome volume. Nostalgic images of the Midwest unfold in both text and art; the exquisite paintings of prairies and farms include a roan horse who "feels the foam on the collar at the end of a haul" as well as a round-bellied steamboat captain who stands like Teddy Roosevelt surveying the Mississippi. Glorious colors feature in other paintings: a buffalo stands before a row of teepees, backed by an orange and pink sherbet-colored sunset and a shooting star, his great head "pawing/ on in a great pageant of dusk," and a brilliant green frog sits waiting, beating "the air with a recurring thin/ steel sliver of melody." The barefoot farm boy on the cover, a turn-of-the-century family opposite the title page and a picture of a snowman will appeal to children, but most paintings focus on adult-centered fare: a man and his dog survey the horizon, the fire from dried corn stalks "lights the west in November." Still, few will argue that Sandburg's prayer to the Illinois October sun to "give these crabapples your softening gold" is made more poignant by Minor's stunning rendering of a black-branched tree in autumn. All ages. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Carolyn Dennette Michaels
The Browndeer editors made thoughtful choices from Sandburg's poetry as text for this picture book, and successfully used small design details to assist the disparity in the visual weight of opposing pages where a short poem opposes a full-page painting. Minor's talent with watercolors proves a worthy match for Sandburg's poetic vision. But, in some, such as "Still Life" about riding a transcontinental train, I, who rode many such observation platforms, could find no link between visual and poetic images.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8A collection of 16 poems that describe the seasons in America's heartland and the power of the land itselfthe prairie, the river, the woods, the fields. The imagery of Sandburg's poetry is mirrored in Minor's fine realistic watercolor landscapes. Panoramic views show fields of ripe wheat and plains of both lush green and dried brown grasses. Close-ups focus on a shaggy-haired buffalo, a lone cricket perched on an ear of ripe corn, a frog half submerged in a stream, an owl staring down from his perch on a leafless tree branch, the nearly bare limbs of a crabapple tree in autumn, and a barn at daybreak. Readers exposed to these lovely complements of aural and visual imagery cannot help but come away with a better understanding of poetry and a deeper appreciation of language.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Minor's signature watercolors, limpid and bright, make a visual hymn to the Midwest and thereby echo the poems of Carl Sandburg. These poems, replete with images of fields, frogs, horses, and harvests, are arranged roughly in order of early spring to late winter. The title poem, "Grassroots," "puts fingers into the dark dirt" while a hawk flies over a field just turning golden under an opalescent sky. A two-page diptych called "Still Life" shows a steam train as it passes village, horses, and cows. For a snowman, the poem is "Metamorphosis"þ"When water turns ice does it remember/one time it was water?/When ice turns back into water does it/remember it was ice?" The book closes with the beautiful "Red and White" ("O I have loved red roses and O I have loved white snow") with an equally beautiful painting. An ode to a place, and a worthy introduction to Sandburg's poetry. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152000820
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.35 (w) x 9.62 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, first in 1940 for his biography of Abraham Lincoln and again in 1951 for Complete Poems. Before becoming known as a poet, he worked as a milkman, an ice harvester, a dishwasher, a salesman, a fireman, and a journalist. Among his classics are the Rootabaga Stories, which he wrote for his young daughters at the beginning of his long and distinguished literary career.

Wendell Minor is the celebrated illustrator of more than forty picture books for children. His work reflects his deep interest in American history and American landscape and his desire to bring the natural world to children. He currently lives in rural Connecticut with his wife, author Florence Friedmann Minor. Visit him at www.minorart.com.

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