Growing Seasons

Growing Seasons

5.0 1
by carolyn pratt, Ken Stark, Carolyn Pratt
     
 

Elsie Lee Splear grew up on a farm in the early part of the 20th century. With the help of her daughter, Carolyn, Elsie tells what life was like for her and her sisters: the hard work they did making their own soap, churning butter, canning fruits, butchering meat, and much more. Everything had a season but as the years turned, a few, small changes came to their… See more details below

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Overview

Elsie Lee Splear grew up on a farm in the early part of the 20th century. With the help of her daughter, Carolyn, Elsie tells what life was like for her and her sisters: the hard work they did making their own soap, churning butter, canning fruits, butchering meat, and much more. Everything had a season but as the years turned, a few, small changes came to their lives.

As it opens a window onto a personal slice of American history, this gentle, moving story portrays a way of life that seems both distant and familiar. Ken Stark, who was a friend of Elsie's, displays his clear love of the land in each picture.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This lovely picture book celebrates the childhood of Elsie Lee Splear growing up in rural, northeastern Illinois in the early 1900s. At the urgings of her daughter, Carolyn Splear Pratt, the author wrote her memories and reflections of the hardships as well as the joys of farm life with her hard-working parents, three sisters and a variety of farm animals. Beautiful casein paintings add greatly to the charm of the first person text that emphasizes the changing seasons and how they influenced their lives. The very brief one-page chapters, each accompanied by a full-page painting, are arranged in seasonal order, from spring to early spring. They include topics such as planting potatoes, wash day, summer storm, and Christmas. This book should appeal to a wide age range and could be used for social studies, as well as for language arts and visual arts. 2000, Putnam's, $15.99. Ages 6 up. Reviewer: Gisela Jernigan
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-6-In this exceptionally well-designed book, life on a Midwestern farm at the turn of the century is exquisitely portrayed through the fond memories of Splear and the paintings of Stark, paired on double-page spreads. Those were the days of no electricity, no running water or indoor plumbing, when teams of horses worked the land and families were self-sufficient. Organized into a series of vignettes, the book begins with recollections of the kitchen stove, which was so central to their family life that, "-whenever we moved to a new house, the stove was the first thing to be taken off the hayrack and set up in the new kitchen." Each story is told in a relaxed, kitchen-table tone, inviting readers to learn more about threshing, wash day, gardening, chores, and Christmas. The subject of butchering is gently described and illustrated: "My sisters and I were unhappy when butchering time came around in the late fall." Stark's evocative paintings are filled with motion, life, and homey details. True to the nostalgic tone of the book, each one is flooded with cheerful sunlight. This would be a welcome addition for most collections, perhaps inspiring young people to have similar conversations with the elders in their own lives.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Born on an Illinois farm in 1906, Splear describes a hardworking but satisfying life as one of four sisters in a tenant farming family. Everyone has clearly defined work to do. Mother gardens, cooks, does the wash, cans food for the winter, and sells her excess butter and cream. The girls help mother in the kitchen and garden, and they take care of the cows when school is out. They help dress and prepare chickens for market, keep the fuel box full, and carry water into the house from the well. Father plows and harvests the crops, cares for the animals, and slaughters them for market. This farm family, living before the invention of laborsaving devices, is a virtuous unit, harmoniously working together, celebrating holidays, and enjoying the fruit of their labors. Although they move from place to place, crops grow, and animals and humans thrive. The family always has food to eat and enough money to buy a $500 car. Stark's casein paintings are carefully detailed, taking pains to show the readers the unfamiliar household equipment of the time. The washtub, clothes wringer, clothesline, horsedrawn plow, Model T car, and the stove that fills the house with warmth—all recreate what life was like before the mechanized farm. Bath night in the kitchen, showing a girl squeezed into a tin tub bending over as her mother ladles water onto her head, is especially evocative of a time gone by. An idyllic picture of a wholesome, white, midwestern farm family. (Nonfiction. 812). . . Stanley, Diane ROUGHING IT ON THE OREGON TRAIL Illus. by Holly Berry HarperCollins (48 pp.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399234606
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/28/2000
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.26(w) x 10.37(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 11 Years

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