Over the Green Hills

Over the Green Hills

by Rachel Isadora
     
 

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Zolani and his mother are going to visit Grandma Zindzi. Zolani loads a wet sack of mussels, a present for his grandmother, on a sturdy young goat. His mother settles little Noma comfortably on her own back and balances a box of dried fish and a basket of mielies on her head. They will walk many miles across the Transkei countryside before they reach Grandma Zindzi

Overview

Zolani and his mother are going to visit Grandma Zindzi. Zolani loads a wet sack of mussels, a present for his grandmother, on a sturdy young goat. His mother settles little Noma comfortably on her own back and balances a box of dried fish and a basket of mielies on her head. They will walk many miles across the Transkei countryside before they reach Grandma Zindzi's.

As she did in At the Crossroads, Rachel Isadora gives us an authentic glimpse of life in yet another area of South Africa. Eloquent words and pictures tell the story of their journey and make it a journey to remember.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As in At the Crossroads , the versatile Isadora ( Ben's Trumpet ) here presents a radiant portrait of quotidian life in rural South Africa. Zolani, his mother and his younger sister set off on foot to visit Grandma Zindzi. En route a shop owner hands them a pumpkin to bring to the older woman, and some friends whose house they pass give Zolani his very first book; mother trades dried fish for firewood and purchases a speckled hen, which she carries on her head with her other belongings; and the boy helps a man lift his pig out of the mud. Their disappointment at finding Grandma's house empty gives way to joy as Zolani hears the familiar sound of her pennywhistle in the distance. The kindness of the South African people is at the heart of this affecting story, told as much through Isadora's vibrantly hued, arresting watercolors--spotlighting the local landscape, wildlife and customs--as her eloquent writing. The final image of Zolani and Grandma making music together against a radiant sunset is not soon forgotten. Ages 4-up. (May)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- This cheerful companion piece to At the Crossroads (Greenwillow, 1991) is set in South Africa in the rural ``homeland'' of Transkei. Young Zolani walks through the countryside with his mother and baby sister to visit his grandmother. Along the way they meet a man with whom they trade dried fish for firewood, a small girl who is selling chickens, and a man with a pig. They also see an ostrich. When they arrive at Zolani's grandmother's house she is not home, but all is well when she returns at the end of the day. The text is simply and clearly written, but the rather bland dialogue does not reflect local speech. Isadora's bright watercolors in a realistic style depict the characters with sympathy and warmth. However, the impression given of a flourishing rural economy and a landscape showing few obvious signs of environmental degradation results in an idealized portrayal of one of the poorer regions of South Africa, stripped of the ugliness of poverty. In spite of the idealistic picture created, the book's unique subject matter for this age group will assure it a place in most collections. --Susan Giffard, Englewood Public Library, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688105099
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/1992
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina--and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is adancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

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