River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River

River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River

by 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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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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.)

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Booklist
Talbott . . . offers another compelling blend of political and natural history in this beautifully illustrated celebration of the Hudson River.
Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
Hudson Talbott offers a personal and beautiful ode to the majestic river whose name he shares and writes that it has been a "magnet for dreamers like me" since the first tribal groups settled on its shores. He traces the political, economic, and natural history of the river from the Mahicans who called the river, "Mahekanituck," meaning "the river that flows both ways" through to its modern day environmental champions who hope to secure the river's future by rescuing it from years of pollution and misuse. The journey of Henry Hudson, the first European to write about the river, who explored it up to Albany in his boat, the Half moon, is revealed, as is the river's importance during the Revolutionary War. Also covered is the building of the Erie Canal and the river's role in the Industrial Revolution. Talbott also touches upon how the river has influenced the imagination of writers and artists including Washington Irving, James Fennimore Cooper, and Thomas Cole, among others. Franny Reese, the woman who took on Con Edison to fight the building of an enormous hydroelectric pumping station that would carve a gigantic hole in the side of Storm King Mountain on the banks of the Hudson River, is depicted as a twentieth-century dreamer and advocate for the river and its natural beauty. Just as the author begins the story on a personal note, so too does he end the book, claiming, "It's now my turn to help in keeping the river of dreams flowing, for all those dreamers yet to come." The watercolor and colored pencil illustrations are stunning and seamlessly complement the evocative text. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

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

Kirkus Reviews
Opening with his childhood fascination with the river that shares his name, Talbott provides a survey of Hudson River history from its glacial origins and times with early Native American and European settlers through its industrial development and environmental degradation to its new hope for reclamation through citizen action. The clearly written, chronological account also touches on the Revolutionary War, the movement from sail to steam, the importance of the Erie Canal and the river's role in literature and art. With watercolors, colored pencil and ink, the environmentally sensitive author/illustrator has created lushly detailed paintings that tell the story both literally and symbolically. Insets including maps and a stream motif winding through the pages add further information. These images will carry readers along through a moderately difficult but well-paced text. The bibliography includes adult reading but also websites accessible to the middle-grade audience. Libraries that already own Robert Baron and Thomas Locker's The Hudson: A Story of a River (2004) will want this one as well, for its lively narrative and admiring affection. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399245213
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/22/2009
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
301,454
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
1050L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

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