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Haystack
     

Haystack

by Arthur Geisert (Illustrator), Bonnie Geisert
 

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The haystack was once a familiar sight on the prairie landscape. It was a model of the practical and responsible use of natural resources as well as a symbol of pastoral bounty and of the enduring farming tradition. Through Arthur and Bonnie Geisert's vision the reader will come to see that a haystack was more than just a simple pile of hay. Arthur's exquisite

Overview

The haystack was once a familiar sight on the prairie landscape. It was a model of the practical and responsible use of natural resources as well as a symbol of pastoral bounty and of the enduring farming tradition. Through Arthur and Bonnie Geisert's vision the reader will come to see that a haystack was more than just a simple pile of hay. Arthur's exquisite colored etchings and Bonnie's informative text bring to life a fascinating heritage that gave support and sustenance to the variety of needs and functions of a working farm.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Big landscapes with tiny, precise details, plus the pigs that are a Geisert trademark, will entice readers to linger over this eye-opener and to think about a rural staple usually only glimpsed from the window of a passing car. . . . A timely appreciation of the lowly haystack." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
Publishers Weekly
"Steeped in nostalgia, this quiet tribute to a bygone era also honors the life cycle," wrote PW. "The Geiserts suggest the efficiency of farm life with precise etchings." All ages. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Steeped in nostalgia, this quiet tribute to a bygone era, when ``haystacks stood high, long, and wide on the prairie,'' also honors the life cycle. Beginning with plain, unvarnished details about mowing, drying and tromping hay, the narrative moves on to explain the haystack's important purposes: to provide food, and a shelter from the wind, for cows during the winter; during warmer weather, to serve as a resting and feeding place for pigs (which the author of Pigs from A to Z illustrates with particular flair). In return, the animals' manure is used as fertilizer for the next year's hay, thus continuing the cycle. The Geiserts suggest the efficiency of farm life with precise etchings that capture textures and shades: a distant tractor tire, the shadows on piglets' underbellies. The text, too, is similarly sober-while it is informative, it provides little in the way of plot or colorful language to hook the reader's imagination. As a result, only those who already have an interest in farming will plow through with enthusiasm. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Detailed, colorful etchings explain the construction of a huge haystack that will serve as feed for the farm animals throughout the year. From cutting the tall grass on the prairie, building the frame and filling it, feeding the cows and pigs to spreading manure on the new grass fields, the cycles of farm life are demonstrated and celebrated.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-``Making hay'' is an essential activity on most livestock farms, and the methods of harvesting this important crop vary not only with the times but also according to the region. Haying on the prairie ``in a time not so long ago'' is the subject of the Geiserts' book. With precision, they describe the full-circle progression from cutting ``swath after swath'' of grass around the field to the building of the haystack; its uses by cattle and pigs for food and shelter; and, finally, the redistribution of its remains back onto the field as food for the grass. The information is accurate and is presented in an appealing manner. The prose is brisk and straightforward and the text is superbly illustrated with nearly full-page colored etchings. Today's children may well linger over them, pondering the many details and enjoying the multitude of perspectives. The historical significance of haystacks, however, and the ecological balance that they represented, may not be fully appreciated by young readers without adult input.-Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, WI
Leone McDermott
The haystack was once a familiar sight on prairie farmlands and is still a recognized symbol of farm life. But few people know exactly what a haystack was used for. This book employs quaint drawings and a plain text to document the haystack's role in agriculture's natural cycle. The mown tall grass would be bunched into small heaps, which would be brought to the middle of the field to become one huge stack that was larger than some farm buildings and would feed the cattle for the rest of the year. By springtime, all that would be left was a pile of manure, which would be spread over the fields as the cycle began again. Geisert's detailed etchings have an old-fashioned graininess, softened by watercolor washes in dusty browns and grass greens. The wide spaces of the prairie are suggested by the book's horizontal format. Readers will gain not only knowledge about haystacks, but also a sense of the atmosphere of farm life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780395697221
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/28/1995
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.63(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Arthur Geisert’s unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators’, annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.

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