Our Colonial Year by Cheryl Harness, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Our Colonial Year

Our Colonial Year

by Cheryl Harness
     
 

In Colonial America
there were no big grocery stores.
No microwaves to serve up
dinner piping hot.
And no dishwashers
for cleaning up.
So what chores did
colonial children do?
From quilting bees and
maple sugaring in winter,
to tilling the earth in spring,
to harvesting an autumn feast,
storyteller

Overview

In Colonial America
there were no big grocery stores.
No microwaves to serve up
dinner piping hot.
And no dishwashers
for cleaning up.
So what chores did
colonial children do?
From quilting bees and
maple sugaring in winter,
to tilling the earth in spring,
to harvesting an autumn feast,
storyteller and historian
Cheryl Harness tells a
month-by-month story
of a brand-new nation and
the children in every city and farm
whose hard work
built America.
Readers of all ages will delight
in this vibrant folk art
chronicle of one indelible
nation way back when.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
From the author and illustrator of numerous books about American history for young readers comes a delightful, and educational picture book. Storyteller and historian Harness takes an unusual approach to explaining everyday colonial life by showing readers everyday chores done by colonial children. Today's youth, accustomed to household conveniences such as microwave ovens, will find chores such as spinning wool for yarn or tapping maple trees for syrup, fascinating. And yet, they will also find the familiar: September meant the return to school books for colonial children, too. The book is organized in thirteen spreads, each featuring one of the original thirteen colonies of British North America. On the left is the month's free-verse text, and on the right is a full-color painting reminiscent of folk art paintings from the period. What is the thirteenth month of this colonial year? It is a bonus spread for New Year's Eve, when one year turns to the next—a perfect metaphor for the upheaval soon to come, which will turn thirteen independent colonies into the United States of America. 2005, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Ages 4 to 8.
—Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In short, free-verse compositions, Harness takes readers not just month by month through a year, but also through the 13 colonies (there is an additional spread for "New Year's"). Each of the simple but pithy poems is set in a different locale and focuses on children's chores and pastimes. Youngsters are depicted doing typical activities of the day, such as stitching samplers, carding wool, collecting maple sap, and playing marbles. The upcoming revolution is not mentioned until the last two lines ("The colonial year is fast away./And tomorrow is an American day"), but suggestions of what is to come are cleverly woven into the illustrations. For example, the entry for July features a woman in a red-and-white striped dress reading a newspaper with the headline "Unite or Die" standing next to a child wearing a white bonnet with blue stars. The historically accurate pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures have been carefully composed. They have a folk-art quality and feature calico prints on almost every surface, including fields, apple trees, and the flames in a fireplace, as well as the different colonies on the appended map. This book is a treat for the eye and an excellent introduction to this period in American history.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Harness's attempt to portray common colonial-era activities through the seasons by pairing a scene set in each of the 13 colonies to a month (plus New Year to make it come out even) goes awry on several counts. Though arranged into four-line stanzas, the text neither rhymes nor follows any consistent rhythmic pattern, and so frequently falls flat: In September, "Children gather slates and books. / The teachers clang the bell. / They troop into the schoolhouse / where they'll spend the crisp days learning." Looking more surreal than cozy, the full-page paintings of busy young folk in period dress are overlaid with faint gingham, patchwork and quilt patterns. There's some dissonance both in "April," where a farmer's work is described but it's his wife who fills the foreground, and in "November," where the line, "all give thanks at the autumn feast" probably doesn't include the dark-skinned servants attending to a North Carolina family. Closing with a hard-to-decipher map, this effort falls well below the author's usual standard. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689834790
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
12/28/2005
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,139,193
Product dimensions:
10.30(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Cheryl Harness is an author-illustrator, speaker, sometime sculptor, and harmonica player. She has created many acclaimed historical picture books, including Ghosts of the Civil War, Ghosts of the White House, Ghosts of the 20th Century, Mark Twain and the Queens of the Mississippi, and Three Young Pilgrims. She lives in Independence, Missouri, with her Scottie, Maude, and her cats, Irene and Merrie Emma.

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