Heart of the Wood by Marguerite W. Davol, Sheila Hamanaka |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Heart of the Wood

Heart of the Wood

by Marguerite W. Davol, Sheila Hamanaka

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Davol sheds some gentle light on the interconnected worlds of art and nature in her first picture book. In a cumulative poem fashioned after ``The House That Jack Built,'' she relates how a fiddle that plays beautiful music is eventually formed from a sycamore tree that grows in the Winderly Woods. The melodious text with a sing-song rhythm could well be a jumping off point for numerous discussions of such touched-upon topics as ecology, craftsmanship and art appreciation. Readers may want to know more about why the mockingbird was displaced from her home, or about the woodcutter and woodcarver's work. Hamanaka's ( The Journey ; The Terrible Eek ) rich, double-page oil paintings deftly capture the Winderly Woods in the peak of their autumnal splendor. Sunlight filtering through the leaves and later through the woodcarver's window infuses the scenes with a warm glow. A spread depicting a joyous outdoor crowd of dancing couples moving to the fiddle's tune is particularly heart-lifting. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- A cumulative, rhyming tale that describes the process by which a living tree is transformed into a musical instrument. Hamanaka's paintings are powerful and effective, magically conveying the song of a mockingbird or of a fiddle in the pattern of sunlight glancing through the leaves or dancers whirling on the grass. Davol's text, unfortunately, is not as successful. While the individual rhymed stanzas describe the action clearly and generally flow well, the repetition becomes tiresome, tempting readers to skip the familiar, oft-repeated lines. Many will be willing to do just that in order to admire Hamanaka's rich, vivid paintings. She includes people of various ethnicities, providing a glimpse of a matter-of-factly multicultural world in which both natural beauty and the appeal of the arts are recognized and celebrated. The sophistication of Davol's concept and the spare verse make the book more appealing to adults than to children. While introducing it to the right audience may present a challenge, don't pass it over without a close inspection: you may well find yourself captivated by Hamanaka's evocative interpretation of Davol's quietly expressive text. --Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Stephanie Zvirin
While Davol's cumulative story, which focuses on the cutting down of a tree, may not be politically correct in this age of conservation, this is, in fact, a beautiful picture book celebration. The illustrations, lit by shimmering highlights, follow what happens to the tree, picturing it first as a perch for a mockingbird that sings "so wild and free" then showing its felling, its trimming at the sawmill, and, finally, the shaping of its wood into a fiddle that brings joyous music to the people. Hamanaka's strong, impressionistic artwork demonstrates bold use of perspective (dancers and the woodcarver, for example, are viewed from above), while the rich fall colors--green, orange, gold, and brown--capture the ebullient spirit of the catchy narrative and establish firm roots in the natural world.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.77(w) x 10.83(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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