Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts

Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts

by Anna Grossnickle Hines
     
 

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Pieces of the seasons appear and disappear in a patchwork pattern making up a year.

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Overview

Pieces of the seasons appear and disappear in a patchwork pattern making up a year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"In a series of quilted designs worthy of exhibition, Hines illustrates the theme of this deceptively simple, unique collection of poems," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 5-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a series of quilted designs worthy of exhibition, Hines (My Own Big Bed) illustrates the theme of this deceptively simple, unique collection of poems: "Pieces of the seasons/ appear and disappear/ in a patchwork pattern/ making up a year." Her language, both playful and adroit, allows readers to see familiar seasonal changes anew. "Good Heavens," for instance, depicts a spring lawn as "astronomical/ with dandelion blooms" that fill the green sky with "a thousand suns/ and then/ a thousand moons." Hines varies her quilt designs as often as she varies her poems' rhythm and rhyme schemes. In one of the longer poems, "Do You Know Green?," the words trickle down the page, much like the light that filters through the trees in the accompanying quilt; both the poem's construction and the long vertical tree trunks emphasize the forest's height and grandeur. Meanwhile, abstract quilts like the one featuring hundreds of flowered squares in "Misplaced?" stress frivolity--in this case, a joke involving a flowerbed where "bloomers are not sleepyheads." An appendix explains Hines's meticulous quilting process. Wearing two hats, Hines takes her quilter's stash of fabric swatches and her wordsmith's metaphors for memories of the seasons, and pieces together a unified, artistic whole. An outstanding book for aspiring quilters or anyone at all. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
A feast for the senses lies between the covers of this book. Eye-catching handmade quilts, created by Hines herself, are the backdrops for twenty of her poems about the seasons. The first poem, "Pieces of the seasons/ appear and disappear/ in a patchwork pattern/ making up a year" sets the stage for what is to come. The poems present the sights, sounds and smells of the seasons, beginning in early spring with a crow alighting on a cedar branch. In the subsequent quilts, pastels give way to multi-hued flower beds of summer, followed by the orange and yellows of fall, that give way to shadows and the ice blue shading of a winter night. The poems beg to be read aloud, with strong rhythms, strong images, delightful use of language and onomatopoeia. Hines presents the story behind the quilts and discusses her process at the end of the book. She dedicates the book to her mother who gave her sage advice—"If that's what you want to do, that's what you should do." This is a book for those who love language and images, art and quilts. 2001, Greenwillow, . Ages 5 up. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Hines has illustrated her mostly free-verse poems about the seasons with quilts. The selections, which describe weather, gardens, and animals, are set against her patchwork designs. The fabric art, done in a broad range of colors, are mostly representational, picturing animals and landscapes. While a few are striking, those that depend on a fabric's print or the quilting pattern come across flatly in reproduction. The poems are nicely descriptive, but not distinguished. The most interesting part for readers may be the two pages at the end that describe the quilting process, with a short bibliography. The quilts in the book are Hines's first, and took her several years to complete. They will certainly inspire young quilters or artists to try something similar, but as a collection of illustrated poems, Pieces fails to stand out.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hines (Not Without Bear, 1999, etc.) raises the bar considerably for illustrators working in fabric, pairing 20 new or previously published seasonal poems with spectacular quilted and appliqued piecework scenes. Reproduced in roughly actual size, each piece features combinations of printed and patchwork flowers in glorious profusion, sturdy trees with and without leaves, sunbeams, starry skies, falling rain, and stylized but recognizable animals, all demonstrating dazzling mastery of color and pattern. Though it seems almost unfair, the poetry is brilliant too, evoking the"patchwork pattern / making up a year," from the freshness of early Spring—"Brand new baby yellow green / bright bold biting busy green / until it seems / everywhere one goes / green grows" through a summer lawn"astronomical / with dandelion blooms," to Autumn's falling leaves—"some float / lazily / wavily / and taking all / daysily ..." The quilts each have unique individual characters, but there is a strong overall consistency of style too, and since they were designed as illustrations, the unity of text and picture is (paradoxically) seamless. And they are so exquisitely reproduced that the temptation is to touch the page to feel the fabric. Hines explains in a postscript how the quilts came to be, and provides sources of information for novice quilters—but even readers with no interest in the craft will stop in their tracks to admire this tour de force. (Poetry. 6-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060559601
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/05/2003
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
736,371
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Takeout

Papa Wren stops
on the rock
beneath
the rosebush,
tasty tidbit in his beak.
Looks
this way...
that way...
slips
behind the ferns
to the nest
where Mama sits
warming eggs
and waiting
for Papa's tasty bits.

Meet the Author

Anna Grossnickle Hines is the popular creator of numerous books for children. Though she has sewn "enough dolls and stuffed animals to fill a well-stocked toy store," and made a few simple quilts for her three daughters, Anna did not do any serious quilting until she decided to use quilts to illustrate the poems in this book. Inspired by her mother, who has been making prizewinning quilts since her retirement, Anna made her first quilt for the book in 1996. Working between other projects, she pieced four more over the next two years, and from April through November 1999 made the fourteen remaining quilts.

Anna Grossnickle Hines lives with her family in Gualala, California.

In Her Own Words...

"As a child I was very shy, but I enjoyed the attention I got from having my first-grade teacher put my drawings up on the wall. I remember sitting in my father's chair at the age of seven, looking at a Little Golden Book version of Heidi and telling my mother, "When I grow up, I want to make books for boys and girls." She said simply, "If that's what you want to do, that's what you should do."

"All the time I was growing up, first in rural Ohio, then, after my eleventh birthday, in Los Angeles, California, I read and drew. Sometimes I wrote, but I was shyer about that and usually tore it up. My parents and teachers encouraged me, but none of them could tell me much about how to go about "making books."

"In college my teachers told me that I had too much talent to waste on children's books, that "only Picasso gets away with drawing children," that I should "go have a baby and get it out of [my] system" and come back when I was ready to do " real art. " So at the end of my third year, having taken all the basic art courses, a class in children's literature, and another in child care and management, I left school to study on my own.

"I checked out stacks of books from the library and read them to the preschoolers in the daycare center where I worked. I read books about writing and illustrating books for children, and experimented with printing techniques. I also started writing: poetry at first, then a few picturebook stories, timidly sharing them with friends. Although they encouraged me, I still didn't know how to go about submitting my work to a publishing company.

"I was twenty-eight years old before I got that information from a Society of Children's Book Writers' conference. By that time, having been married and divorced, I had two young daughters to support, and had earned my degree and teaching credentials from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.

"During the next eight years I taught third grade, married a songwriting forest ranger named Gary Hines, had a third daughter, continued my writing and drawing, and collected over one hundred encouraging rejection letters from various publishing companies, eighteen of them from Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books.

"Then on Friday, November 13th, 1981, instead of sending me a nice rejection letter, Susan called to say, "We'd like to publish Taste the Raindrops." Since then my life has been full indeed, with a wonderful family and work I love.

"I am fascinated by children, by how they think, what they do each day, how they learn about the world around them, their relationships with others. I enjoy sorting it all out and making sense of it, especially as what is commonplace to us is new and engaging to them.

"Every once in a while I have the additional reward of hearing from a child, or parent of a child, for whom one of my books has meant something special. Then I'm really glad I didn't listen to my college teachers."

Anna Grossnickle Hines is the popular creator of numerous books for children. Though she has sewn "enough dolls and stuffed animals to fill a well-stocked toy store," and made a few simple quilts for her three daughters, Anna did not do any serious quilting until she decided to use quilts to illustrate the poems in this book. Inspired by her mother, who has been making prizewinning quilts since her retirement, Anna made her first quilt for the book in 1996. Working between other projects, she pieced four more over the next two years, and from April through November 1999 made the fourteen remaining quilts.

Anna Grossnickle Hines lives with her family in Gualala, California.

In Her Own Words...

"As a child I was very shy, but I enjoyed the attention I got from having my first-grade teacher put my drawings up on the wall. I remember sitting in my father's chair at the age of seven, looking at a Little Golden Book version of Heidi and telling my mother, "When I grow up, I want to make books for boys and girls." She said simply, "If that's what you want to do, that's what you should do."

"All the time I was growing up, first in rural Ohio, then, after my eleventh birthday, in Los Angeles, California, I read and drew. Sometimes I wrote, but I was shyer about that and usually tore it up. My parents and teachers encouraged me, but none of them could tell me much about how to go about "making books."

"In college my teachers told me that I had too much talent to waste on children's books, that "only Picasso gets away with drawing children," that I should "go have a baby and get it out of [my] system" and come back when I was ready to do " real art. " So at the end of my third year, having taken all the basic art courses, a class in children's literature, and another in child care and management, I left school to study on my own.

"I checked out stacks of books from the library and read them to the preschoolers in the daycare center where I worked. I read books about writing and illustrating books for children, and experimented with printing techniques. I also started writing: poetry at first, then a few picturebook stories, timidly sharing them with friends. Although they encouraged me, I still didn't know how to go about submitting my work to a publishing company.

"I was twenty-eight years old before I got that information from a Society of Children's Book Writers' conference. By that time, having been married and divorced, I had two young daughters to support, and had earned my degree and teaching credentials from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.

"During the next eight years I taught third grade, married a songwriting forest ranger named Gary Hines, had a third daughter, continued my writing and drawing, and collected over one hundred encouraging rejection letters from various publishing companies, eighteen of them from Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books.

"Then on Friday, November 13th, 1981, instead of sending me a nice rejection letter, Susan called to say, "We'd like to publish Taste the Raindrops." Since then my life has been full indeed, with a wonderful family and work I love.

"I am fascinated by children, by how they think, what they do each day, how they learn about the world around them, their relationships with others. I enjoy sorting it all out and making sense of it, especially as what is commonplace to us is new and engaging to them.

"Every once in a while I have the additional reward of hearing from a child, or parent of a child, for whom one of my books has meant something special. Then I'm really glad I didn't listen to my college teachers."

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