Putting his powers of visual explanation to the test, Talbott (United Tweets of America) presents a staggering amount of information about the Hudson River without ever overwhelming or confusing readers. A series of watercolor spreads, unified by the image of the river flowing across each one, traces the Hudson's role in the colonization of New York, the Revolution, the era of steamboats, the building of the Erie Canal; its fate as railroads eclipsed shipping's importance; its environmental degradation; and its rebirth. The image of the river often doubles as a timeline, helping to organize the information and make room for extra details. Side tours explore the river's literary and artistic history. Striking trompe l'oeil devices enliven many of Talbott's paintings; on one page, a locomotive appears to hurtle "full steam ahead" through a bucolic river scene toward the viewer, a terrific visual pun on the railroad's social and economic effects. Talbott makes good use of irony (the Native Americans' stewardship of the Hudson River Valley "was great while it lasted"), but does not avoid emotion (immigrants at Ellis Island represent "another river.... a river of dreamers"). Ages 6-8. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson Riverby Hudson Talbott
The Hudson River has been a source of inspiration and a means of livelihood to all who have lived along its shores. It played a key role in the settling of the New World and the outcome of the Revolutionary War, and was the birthplace of the environmental movement. Now Hudson Talbott pays homage to the river that shares his name in a gorgeously illustrated,… See more details below
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The Hudson River has been a source of inspiration and a means of livelihood to all who have lived along its shores. It played a key role in the settling of the New World and the outcome of the Revolutionary War, and was the birthplace of the environmental movement. Now Hudson Talbott pays homage to the river that shares his name in a gorgeously illustrated, fascinating account of the river?s history.
Each appealing spread sheds exciting light on the river?s strategic, economic and cultural signifi cance. Packed with facts, timelines and maps, this is a wonderful introduction to a wide range of topics including the Age of Exploration, the Erie Canal, the Industrial Age, American arts and literature and the environment. River of Dreams is truly a book with something for everyone.
A boy gazes from his nighttime window, dreaming of New York, "the great city on the river that bore my name-Hudson." This personalized opening has the look of a bedtime story and may deter some readers, but Talbott uses dreams as a theme around which he winds an engaging history. He adroitly utilizes the picture-book format to chronicle the Hudson's course through the experiences of various dreamers. He describes the long period of habitation by Native peoples, settlement by Holland and then by England, the "American" revolt against English rule, the post-Revolution boom in shipping traffic, the building of the Erie Canal, and more. Watercolor, colored pencil, and ink illustrations are filled with scenes that are sometimes realistic, at other times more fanciful. A few spreads have color blocks, vignettes, information bits, and a winding river that bears significant dates. The river hit hard times as the rush to commerce made it a dumping ground; it is now in recovery. Echoing the opening tone, he closes with a romanticized and personal note: "It's now my turn to help in keeping the river of dreams flowing, for all those dreamers yet to come." The further reading list and Web sites are of adult interest, but the well-crafted story is an informative and interesting account for personal reading or classroom units in history or environmental issues.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
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