The Highwayman (Visions in Poetry)

( 2 )

Overview

The Highwayman is the second book in a unique series -- Visions in Poetry -- featuring classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists. Originally published in 1907, "The Highwayman" is a haunting ballad of doomed love. Seldom have mood and character been so memorably evoked. The pounding rhythm of the rhyme, the dramatic pacing and the power of the imagery have made it one of the most popular read-alouds of all time. Murray Kimber's stunning noir interpretation is a darkly brilliant achievement ...
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The Highwayman

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Overview

The Highwayman is the second book in a unique series -- Visions in Poetry -- featuring classic poems illustrated by outstanding contemporary artists. Originally published in 1907, "The Highwayman" is a haunting ballad of doomed love. Seldom have mood and character been so memorably evoked. The pounding rhythm of the rhyme, the dramatic pacing and the power of the imagery have made it one of the most popular read-alouds of all time. Murray Kimber's stunning noir interpretation is a darkly brilliant achievement that stays true to the poem's tragic spirit.

An illustrated version of the well-known poem about the highwayman and his true love, the innkeeper's daughter.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
[The dramatic artwork plays up the elements teens will find most rewarding--particularly the protagonists’ defiance of authority and the unblushingly melodramatic conclusion.
From the Publisher
[T]he dramatic artwork plays up the elements teens will find most rewarding--particularly the protagonists’ defiance of authority and the unblushingly melodramatic conclusion.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Noyes's famous poem about a beautiful woman who dies (with her breast ``shattered . . . drenched with her own red blood'') to save her lover, who is, in turn, shot down ``like a dog on the highway,'' is not for the faint-hearted--and surely not for four-to-eight-year-olds, as this edition recommends. But Waldman's watercolors, both abstract and realistic, capture the haunting, tragic spirit of the text. His broad palette glows, and his frequent use of shadow and silhouette is magnificent. The illustrations of the poem's horrific ending are not graphic: the artist wisely lets the power of Noyes's words dominate here, as they should. For older readers, this unusual--and triumphant--treatment provides a striking introduction to an epic work. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature
The many illustrated versions of this poem speak to its perennial popularity. The romantic, exciting tale of love and sacrifice, told with its compelling rhythm and evocative language, offers inspiration to go beyond the pictures painted by the words. Who can forget the moon, "a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas" or the road "a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor." Although much of the text refers to specific items from the past, like the highwayman's "French cocked-hat," "bunch of lace at his chin" and "King George's men," Kimber has moved the visual narrative to a more current time, with our hero, a criminal wanted dead or alive, riding his motorcycle into the city where his Bess awaits him. Visualized in tones of browns and grays which produce a melodramatic aura, the charcoal, conte and acrylics describe the city's mean streets, the nasty "suits" who seek the hero, and the brave but helpless girl. The look recalls gangster films of the 1930s with a touch of art deco, a style well-suited to the tragedy. This handsomely cloth-bound volume in the "Visions in Poetry" series includes notes on both author and illustrator. 2005 (orig. 1913), KPC Poetry/Kids Can Press, Ages 9 up.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-- Noyes' familiar ballad of love, betrayal, and death is given vivid iteration in Waldman's watercolor paintings. Unlike versions by Charles Mikolaycak (Lothrop, 1983) and Charles Keeping (Oxford, 1987), these illustrations are richly colored with green and lavender moors and cloud-filled skies of blue and black. Despite this use of color, the effect is stylized and design supercedes realism. The dynamic shapes of hills and clouds are contained within fine black lines; and trees, leaves, and birds are shown in silhouette. The pages are tightly bordered at the bottom and sides but flow freely from the top to form wind-blown trees and racing clouds. The framing is occasionally broken for dramatic effect: Bess' hair cascades outside one margin; a musket handle breaks through another; and, in the moment of Bess' death, the moors change to a crimson that spills from the frame like drops of blood. One of the more successful aspects of the style is the deliberate abstraction of most of the characters. While the portrayal of the highwayman on his rearing horse is outrageously romantic, he is primarily seen in silhouette, his face only hinted at. Tim the ostler is barely noticed--his white face is the blank space on which is printed the text of his discovery of Bess' love. The soldiers are mere shapes and shadows. The only exception to this treatment is Bess, an idealized beauty in full color. This seems an unfortunate choice since the realism breaks the mood and weakens the tension felt throughout the rest of the book. The strong sense of atmosphere and dramatic use of design reinforce the melodrama of the story, and these illustrations will attract readers to Noyes' perennial favorite. --Eleanor K. MacDonald, Beverly Hills Public Library
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Kimber's robber villain rides a mean motorcycle through the streets of New York City in this Art Deco rendering of Noyes's familiar poem of romantic tragedy. The vigorous, somewhat angular charcoal drawings in this modest, narrow volume richly convey the city night. Often they contradict the descriptive passages of text. For "The moon was a ghostly galleon/tossed upon cloudy seas./The road was a ribbon of moonlight/over the purple moor," the artist infuses his dark illustrations of city streets with shades of tan and mauve, but the red tones so prevalent in the poem appear infrequently. The skyscrapers and automobiles are far removed from Noyes's rustic setting with the "old inn-door" and the "gypsy's ribbon" road. King George's men are now machine-gun-toting tough guys, whose strong-arm tactics in tying up Bess have a kind of familiarity in evoking scenes from gangster comics and movies. Some readers will find the mismatched imagery confusing, and others are likely to be amused at the modernized interpretation. The strong rhythms and imagery and the dark tone and violence of this poetic story should continue to have wide adolescent appeal.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553374251
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/15/2005
  • Series: Visions in Poetry Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,426,116
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Nice

    You can even sing to it because my friend did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    Great

    Great peom

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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