The Day the Picture Man Came

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Gibbons and Meidell (Emma Jo's Song) team up again to produce a rollicking tale of a turn-of-the-20th-century Georgia mountain family visited by a traveling photographer. The photographer's arrival cheers Emily, the narrator, who's feeling frazzled amid the clamor of a five-sibling household ("Then my younger brother Wally's dogs chased my baby sister Jessie's cat through the house and spilled my jar of guaranteed freckle remover all over Papa's almanac"). When the family decides to sit for a portrait-dogs, cat and goat included-the stage is set for an entertaining ruckus. Meidell's watercolors whir with motion, from the energetic barefoot children in their Sunday best to the wild-eyed family pets as they madly pursue one another (except for the goat, Pete, who faints "when he gets scared"). Whatever difficulty readers may have in keeping the names of animals and children straight won't distract much from the comedy that is relayed through the fast-paced, dialect-peppered text and the playful illustrations. Meidell's use of multiple shades of the same color adds texture and depth, while pleasingly containing the chaos. Two sepia-toned "photos" of the mayhem-cursed menagerie serve as a fitting conclusion. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In the early 20th century, the arrival of the itinerant photographer's mule-pulled wagon brings excitement to the farm folk. Emily, our narrator, has been having a bad day, but is delighted to be called "pretty," as Mr. Bramlett tries to arrange the newly scrubbed kids, the dogs, cats goat, ma and pa for the family photo. Wild and funny chaos is the result. The exhausted Bramlett finally produces two pictures for the price of one. The first is the formal family portrait. The second includes the animals and the family in the resulting jumble. But Emily is happy with the whole diversion. Meidell's vibrant watercolor drawings set the comic tone solidly in the action-packed scenes. Local details like the wagon, Emily's bedroom, and the personality-laden contingent of critters are included in constant motion. We feel almost part of the time and place. 2003, Boyds Mills Press,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Emily Howard, a barefooted and freckle-faced "young'un" living in the Georgia mountains, is having a bad day until a horse and wagon bring an itinerant photographer to the front porch. All of her siblings want their pets to be included in the family portrait but Mama says no-to no avail. Getting everyone arranged and in place turns out to be a disaster as the animals act up in a general scene of noisy mischief and mayhem. The solution is two pictures, one with just the family and one of the Howards with their animals. And Emily is happy. The story is slight and the watercolor illustrations lack finesse and sparkle. A so-so slice of Americana.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A farm child’s bad day turns about more than once in this helter-skelter episode. Having already been "fussed out" for trying on her big sister’s bonnet, and then letting the goat get hold of it, and then having to endure "every stinging pest in the Georgia mountains" while picking blackberries, Emily’s hopes for an end to her troubles goes glimmering with the arrival of Cecil Bramlett, itinerant photographer. How hard can it be to get family and pets to hold still long enough for a picture? Try . . . impossible. Unfortunately, uninspired visuals send the promising premise glimmering too; not only has Meidell (Full Steam Ahead, not reviewed, etc.) chosen not to depict the first round of domestic chaos, but her brushwork has a heavy, paint-by-numbers look that makes it hard to follow the action in each over-busy scene. A mediocre variation on Nancy Willard’s Simple Pictures Are Best, illustrated by Tomie dePaola (1977). (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563971617
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2003

    A FUN LOOK AT YESTERYEAR

    Emily Howard wasn't having a particularly good day. She tried on her older sister's bonnet only to have it snatched by her brother's goat. Then, the dogs chased a cat through the house creating a trail of mess that included the spilling of Emily's guaranteed freckle remover. So Mama, in order to try to have a little peace and quiet, sent the youngsters out to pick blackberries (not a chore they enjoyed). It seemed like the day wasn't improving until a brightly painted wagon carrying a photographer arrived. Now, taking a photo of the Howard family was, to say the least, a challenge for the photographer. However, it's a lot of fun to read about. Faye Gibbons has done a worthy job of recreating life on a farm during the turn of the 20th century. Sun washed illustrations enhance the text, especially the portraits of red-haired, freckle faced Emily.

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