The Pen That Pa Built

Overview

In this warm display of old-fashioned know-how and family spirit, a blanket is made from scratch--from the shearing to the carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving. And it all starts in the pen that Pa built.

Told through Ashley Wolff's vibrant artwork, this illustrated history of 1830s North America celebrates the lost art of creating a cherished, homemade object. Author's note provides further historical and natural science information.ReviewsAwards:The Best Children's Books of ...

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Overview

In this warm display of old-fashioned know-how and family spirit, a blanket is made from scratch--from the shearing to the carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving. And it all starts in the pen that Pa built.

Told through Ashley Wolff's vibrant artwork, this illustrated history of 1830s North America celebrates the lost art of creating a cherished, homemade object. Author's note provides further historical and natural science information.ReviewsAwards:The Best Children's Books of the Year 2008, by the Children's Book Committee for Bank Street College of Education

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Young children love cumulative tales and will not be disappointed by this latest offering. Set in America during the eighteen thirties, it depicts the process of sheep raising and how wool is turned into a finished product such as a warm blanket. With only a few words on each page, the story moves along with the aid of the lively, exquisite artwork. Both animals and humans seem ready to move off the pages and become real. The hand shearing, carding, spinning, dyeing, and weaving are so accurately portrayed that children will easily grasp these concepts that, most likely, are totally unfamiliar to them. The new blanket becomes a warm and cozy wrapping for the baby of the family. The final page more fully explains the methods seen in the book. This greatly adds to its usefulness with older children. Add this title to the first purchase list. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
Kirkus Reviews
This historic riff on The House That Jack Built provides dimension to the process of raising sheep to make wool. Each new phrase of the cumulative rhyme adds a step: "This is the wheel / that spins out yarn, / combed and teased, / straight as you please, / clipped by the shears, / grown by the sheep . . . / who live in the pen that Pa built." Wolff's woodcut-style images in gesso and gouache skillfully evoke the time period, farm-life details and the strong family bond as mother, father, son and daughter together shear and gather the wool and card, dye, spin and weave it. The ending neatly ties all the strands together as the wool is woven into a warm blanket for the new baby. The scenes are effectively staged and realized so that today's children can appreciate the colonial experience. Teachers will welcome this visual demonstration in book form, which is almost as good as a visit to Old Sturbridge Village. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582461533
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.36 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

ASHLEY WOLFF has written and/or illustrated over 40 books, including The Pen that Pa Built, Only the Cat Saw, Baby Beluga, Stella and Roy, and the ever-popular Miss Bindergarten series. She lives in San Francisco, California.

David Edwards is addicted to living history museums and lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife and four children. THE PEN THAT PA BUILT is his first published book.

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