Right Here On This Spot

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Right here on this spot, where today Grandpa drives a tractor in his cabbage field, Indians in ancient times lit their campfires, chipped stone into tools, and then moved on. The moon rose and set over the field, season followed season, trees grew into a forest, and settlers came from across the ocean to clear the land again and make a new home. And one day, years later, a Union soldier crossing that field lost a button . . . Grandpa was digging a ditch when he found that button. Deeper in the ditch he discovered...

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Overview

Right here on this spot, where today Grandpa drives a tractor in his cabbage field, Indians in ancient times lit their campfires, chipped stone into tools, and then moved on. The moon rose and set over the field, season followed season, trees grew into a forest, and settlers came from across the ocean to clear the land again and make a new home. And one day, years later, a Union soldier crossing that field lost a button . . . Grandpa was digging a ditch when he found that button. Deeper in the ditch he discovered an arrowhead and the bones of a strange beast . . . In graceful words and striking pictures, Sharon Hart Addy and John Clapp chronicle the changes the centuries bring to one field and offer young readers a vivid slice of history.

While digging a ditch in his cabbage field, Grandpa uncovers various items that provide clues to what has happened in that area of Wisconsin from the time of the Ice Age to the twentieth century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A simple poetic text and quiet watercolor-and-pencil landscapes introduce children to archaeology by focusing on the passing of time in one field—-from prehistory to the present—-and the different people who lived there, what they did, and how we know about them from the things they left behind. Where Grandpa drives a tractor in his cabbage field in Wisconsin, Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age chipped stones into tools and hunted mastodon. Time passed, the glaciers melted, and new Indian people came, Illinois and Potawatomi. Over and over the seasons changed. Then settlers came and cut trees to build a cabin. A Civil War soldier walked the field and lost a button there. The combination of what stays the same and the particulars of what changes will fascinate kids and get them thinking about the "hidden history" of where they live." Booklist, ALA

This impressive picture book shares a history of the land and its people with a grandfather on a tractor drive through his cabbage field. The items that turn up are a chipped stone tool from the time of the mastodon, a lost arrowhead from centuries later, and a Civil War button. The brief main text is lyrical and thoughtful, while the author concludes with a note describing how Paleo-Indians came to the shores of Lake Michigan during the Ice Age; how the Illinois and Potawatomi Indians came after the glaciers melted; and how trappers, frontiersmen, and homesteaders came still later to build the farms and houses still in existence in Wisconsin and Michigan. Soft gray pencil drawings and double-page watercolors amplify the text; Clapp is especially adept at capturing the sweep of sky and the brown earth of the farm in broad bands of color, maximizing the impact of the medium. An appealing introduction to archaeology, and to the concept of continuity through the passing of time.
Kirkus Reviews

"In this lyrical homage to humankind's relationship to the land, "this spot" is the farm belonging to the narrator's grandfather, and as Grandpa digs a ditch, he discovers clues to its past. The story of the land begins with the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age: "Indians in ancient times/ lit a campfire/ on a glacial beach." In Addy's (A Visit with Great-Grandma) stately text, spare language evokes the changes of seasons and of centuries, and sets the stage for the artifacts Grandpa uncovers: a mastodon bone, old Indian arrowheads and a button from a Civil War uniform. Clapp, who exhibited his talent for realistic landscapes with mystical qualities in The Stone Fey, here juxtaposes a realistic painting of Grandpa driving his tractor over the fields with a haunting portrait of the Indians, their faces aglow by firelight, sitting under a full moon. This illustration provides a graceful transition to the next spread of a luminous moon that "rose and set,/ over and over,/ Season followed season." Together, the text and art smoothly convey the passage of time in this specific area near the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan and chronicle it's progression from glacial beach to Civil War battleground to what is now patchwork farmland. Readers never see the child narrator, though the grandfather and grandmother have cameo appearances; the effect of these predominantly unpopulated landscapes creates a feeling of reverence for the book's real main character——the land itself." Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this lyrical homage to humankind's relationship to the land, "this spot" is the farm belonging to the narrator's grandfather, and as Grandpa digs a ditch, he discovers clues to its past. The story of the land begins with the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age: "Indians in ancient times/ lit a campfire/ on a glacial beach." In Addy's (A Visit with Great-Grandma) stately text, spare language evokes the changes of seasons and of centuries, and sets the stage for the artifacts Grandpa uncovers: a mastodon bone, old Indian arrowheads and a button from a Civil War uniform. Clapp, who exhibited his talent for realistic landscapes with mystical qualities in The Stone Fey, here juxtaposes a realistic painting of Grandpa driving his tractor over the fields with a haunting portrait of the Indians, their faces aglow by firelight, sitting under a full moon. This illustration provides a graceful transition to the next spread of a luminous moon that "rose and set,/ over and over./ Season followed season." Together, text and art smoothly convey the passage of time in this specific area near the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan and chronicle its progression from glacial beach to Civil War battleground to what is now patchwork farmland. Readers never see the child narrator, though the grandfather and grandmother have cameo appearances; the effect of these predominantly unpopulated landscapes creates a feeling of reverence for the book's real main character--the land itself. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Right Here on This Spot by Sharon Hart Ady is a picture book that gives us a way to think of the past and explain the layers of history that lie beneath your feet. Grandpa discovers various items in his cabbage field that prove what might have happened in that area of Wisconsin from the ice age to the present--such as a button from a Union soldier's uniform, arrowheads and animal bones from an early period. The historic note gives the poetic text deeper meanings. Clapp's paintings portray the vastness of the countryside and give a sense of the passing of time. 1999, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 6 to 10, $15.00. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
Children's Literature - Jessica Becker
In this illustrated story, the author uses simple and beautiful prose to take the reader through time and space to unearth the mysteries of all that happened "right here, on this spot." Gorgeous watercolors and drawings vividly bring the story to life. A soldier's button, an Indian arrowhead, and a mastedonian bone found in Grandpa's field of cabbage hold secrets of ancient campfires, animals, peoples, and seasons. All that passes over "this spot" shares the space and leaves a trace, all equally important in shaping history. In this story, concrete and recognizable references have made an abstract concept very presentable and appropriate for children. Children's curiosity will be sparked to ask the question, "What happened right here, on this spot?"
Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Following a picture of an elderly man on his tractor, a straightforward text explains how the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age once lived where his farm stands today. Subsequent pages portray the melting of the glacier and the growth of forest and farmland. Seasons pass; other Indians, then settlers, then a soldier in the Civil War walk the land until readers are ultimately brought to the present day, where Grandpa unearths an old button, arrowheads, and a bone. Grandma arranges for specialists to examine the archaeological treasures found "right here on this spot...." Clapp's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations depict the land's progression with a gorgeous realism. This concept book is a useful introduction to the rudiments of archaeology, but it does not have the child appeal of George Ella Lyon's Who Came Down That Road? (Orchard, 1996). The beginning offers no intriguing catalyst for the lengthy discussion of geological and historical changes that follows. Children will need an adult to interest them in this one.-Jackie Hechtkopf, University of Maryland, College Park Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This impressive picture book shares a history of the land and its people with a grandfather on a tractor drive through his cabbage field. The items that turn up are a chipped stone tool from the time of the mastodon, a lost arrowhead from centuries later, and a Civil War button. The brief main text is lyrical and thoughtful, while the author concludes with a note describing how Paleo-Indians came to the shores of Lake Michigan during the Ice Age; how the Illinois and Potawatomi Indians came after the glaciers melted; and how trappers, frontiersmen, and homesteaders came still later to build the farms and houses still in existence in Wisconsin and Michigan. Soft gray pencil drawings and double-page watercolors amplify the text; Clapp is especially adept at capturing the sweep of sky and the brown earth of the farm in broad bands of color, maximizing the impact of the medium. An appealing introduction to archaeology, and to the concept of continuity through the passing of time. (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395730911
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

www.johnclapp.com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2000

    Awards for Right Here on this Spot

    This award winning look at the past, winner of the Archer/Eckbald Children's Picture Book Award, is a touching look at the history of place. It was recently selected for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Literature by the Children's Book Award Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association.

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