Overview

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, small towns sprouted up along the banks of America's rivers. Through a year of changing seasons the reader is transported to the days when people's livelihoods were directly connected to the river. The life of the townsfolk is shown to be an accumulation of events both large and small, from a joyous Halloween parade to the frozen river in winter to the threat of damaging springtime floods. Children and adults alike will pour over these pages of intricate etchings, ...
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River Town

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Overview

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, small towns sprouted up along the banks of America's rivers. Through a year of changing seasons the reader is transported to the days when people's livelihoods were directly connected to the river. The life of the townsfolk is shown to be an accumulation of events both large and small, from a joyous Halloween parade to the frozen river in winter to the threat of damaging springtime floods. Children and adults alike will pour over these pages of intricate etchings, noticing the changes and happenings of day-to-day, season-to-season life lived along a river. As they did in Prairie Town, the Geiserts have once again created a stunning tribute to small-town America as it once was and, to an extent, still remains today.

Describes, in brief text and illustrations, a year in the life of a river bank town and the many changes that occur throughout the seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-In America's early days, towns sprang up along rivers, providing convenient and vital links to the rest of the world. The Geiserts, with their characteristic attention to the minutia of everyday life, explore the interdependence, connection, and subtle changes in life in one riverbank community. The opening page illustrates the quiet bank before it is settled, but with a turn of the page, its transformation to a bustling town is complete. Through a spare text and panoramic double-page spreads rich in small details, life across four seasons unfolds, beginning with fall: "The river town is busy in the fall. Towboats move barges loaded with coal and grain up and down the river." Readers will be able to locate the events and activities mentioned in the text; in addition, other stories begin to emerge and are developed throughout the book without comment: a wedding, a funeral, a barn burned and rebuilt, a mansion restored, a train derailment, island children taking boats to meet the school bus, a boulder crashing down into a quarry, and even a Halloween witch blown along the river in spring winds. The full-color illustrations are exquisitely drawn in ink so that even the smallest figure is recognizable. The last page alerts readers to stories they may have missed on their initial reading. Reminiscent of the work of Mitsumasa Anno, the art will fascinate children and demand repeat viewings.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Geiserts continue their panoramic documentation of American small town life with this follow-up to Prairie Town (1998). With perspectives that sometimes hover high overhead, and other times just a bit above ground level, this offers sharp-eyed observers four seasons' worth of events in a hamlet which is never shown in its entirety. Over a set of wooden captions ("Halloween foretells the end of fall and the beginning of winter. It is a time to turn from work to play"), the illustrator creates a series of finely detailed landscapes, into which he introduces tiny changes, but also a disorienting disassociation of scale by zooming in, for example, on children, then zooming back out for scenes of a train wreck or spring flood. Readers may derive some passing pleasure in locating and poring over successive disasters (and determining their chronology: children skate on one part of the river, while a truck falls through rapidly cracking ice; in the illustration opposite that one, a framed picture of that truck going through the ice hangs in the cafe), but the underlying themes—the co-existence of past and present, the deliberate pace of life and of change—are more clearly evoked in the previous book. (Picture book. 7-9)
From the Publisher
The Geiserts continue their panoramic documentation of American small town life with this follow-up to Prairie Town (1998). With perspectives that sometimes hover high overhead, and other times just a bit above ground level, this offers sharp- eyed observers four seasons' worth of events in a hamlet which is never shown in its entirety. Over a set of wooden captions (Halloween foretells the end of fall and the beginning of winter. It is a time to turn from work to play'), the illustrator creates a series of finely detailed landscapes, into which he introduces tiny changes, but also a disorienting disassociation of scale by zooming in, for example, on children, then zooming back out for scenes of a train wreck or spring flood. Readers may derive some passing pleasure in locating and poring over successive disasters (and determining their chronology: children skate on one part of the river, while a truck falls through rapidly cracking ice; in the illustration opposite that one, a framed picture of that truck going through the ice hangs in the cafe), but the underlying themesthe co-existence of past and present, the deliberate pace of life and of changeare more clearly evoked in the previous book.
Kirkus Reviews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547562193
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/29/1999
  • Series: Small Town U.S.A.
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 22 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Bonnie Geisert grew up on a farm near Cresbard, South Dakota, and her childhood adventures there inspired many of the events in her Prairie trilogy. Ms.Geisert now lives in a small town in northern Illinois, where she still revels in beautiful prairie winters.
Arthur Geisert s unique and exquisite etchings have been widely praised and exhibited at the Chicago Institute of Art, among other museums. His work is regularly selected for the Society of Illustrators , annual Original Art exhibition, and his illustrations are now being collected by the Dubuque Museum of Art. He lives in a converted bank in Bernard, Iowa.
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