Shaker Lane

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Herkimer sisters live in their big house on the hillside of Shaker Lane and sell off pieces of their farm whenever they need a little money. Soon a whole community is settled there: Virgil Oates builds his house first; Sam Kulick and Norbert La Rose become his new neighbors. The place is filled with life and activity, large families, a variety of animals, discarded furniture left in yards, stove pipes, bed springs and tin cans left to rust. Old Man Van Sloop's house is open for dogs and other animals to come and go as they like. Then comes the news that the place is going to be flooded when a dam and reservoir are constructedand everyone has to move out. The area is chewed up by a bulldozer, and the dam water of Bosey's Pond slowly covers everything but the Herkimer House on the hill. The suburban setting of Reservoir Road replaces Shaker Lane with tidy houses, lawns and real roads. But one person shows up in a houseboat with his animals and a fine collection of antiques. ``I like the water,'' says Old Man Van Sloop. The Provensens have provided readers with a classic portrait of the very special bond between pride of place and the American psyche. Old Man Van Sloop, no less a hero than Noah, personifies the triumph of hope and innovation over forgetfulness and dislocation. Children playing baseball, a young couple strolling with a baby carriage, the Herkimer sisters standing with clasped hands, watching the floodthese are some of the artfully finished touches in the paintings. The open road of the countryside, the rusty colors of the houses and the cluttered forms of furniture pieces in junkyards make Shaker Lane an unforgettable piece of real estate. All ages. (October)
School Library Journal
Gr 1 Up A non-sentimental account of ``social progress,'' a pattern of life common to all parts of this country and probably most Western societies. As the Herkimer sisters, rural inhabitants, grew old, they sold off parts of their land to those with modest incomes and a laid-back lifestyle. Then land developers arrived, created a reservoir, and forced the poor to move out to be replaced by middle-class families. Low key in the telling, with a focus on the people, the double-page spread paintings capture the horizontality of the landscape. Opaque, flat colors define clapboard houses, bare autumn branches, and a motley assortment of pooches with equal conviction. The Provensens show the makings of a rural ``slum,'' and readers feel the sense of community built by the La Roses and the Kulicks and the Whipple twins. Each group is defined as individuals by the details of their lives: the condition of their houses, the variety of junk in the yard, the kind of vehicle parked on the grass. Although there's no doubt about the aura of authenticity of the scenes painted, there's equally no doubt about the Provensens' thoughtfulness of the range of yellow-greens used to depict fallow fields, or the use of a few bright clothes on a clothesline to contrast with the graying landscape or the scruffy clouds that add emotional stature to the scene announcing the building of the reservoir. A beautiful blend of direct telling and subtle showing. Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140507133
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1990
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 7.16 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 0.12 (d)

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