The Range Eternal

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In the thick of the Turtle Mountains, inside one family's little cabin, stood The Range Eternal. The woodburning stove provided warmth and comfort, delicious soups, and hot potatoes to warm cold hands on frozen winter mornings. It provided a glowing screen for a young girl's imagination, and protection from the howling ice monsters in the night. But most of all, it was the true heart of the home— one the young girl never knew how much she would miss until it was gone
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Overview

In the thick of the Turtle Mountains, inside one family's little cabin, stood The Range Eternal. The woodburning stove provided warmth and comfort, delicious soups, and hot potatoes to warm cold hands on frozen winter mornings. It provided a glowing screen for a young girl's imagination, and protection from the howling ice monsters in the night. But most of all, it was the true heart of the home— one the young girl never knew how much she would miss until it was gone
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Erdrich (The Birchbark House) skillfully weaves family memories into a poignant and lyrical story of home and hearth. The symbolism may be more moving to adults, but the theme of family and preservation will resonate with children. A young mother relates how when she was a girl in the Turtle Mountains, a wood-burning, enameled stove ("The Range Eternal" emblazoned on the front) provided the family with good soup, warmth and protection. As she looks through the stove's window, the girl sees in its flames "pictures of long ago" that conjure up a range of another kind ("I saw the range of the buffalo... the wolf range and fox range.... I saw the Range Eternal." Johnson and Francher (New York's Bravest) suffuse their breathtaking paintings with light-buffalo and deer gallop in golden clouds across the landscape; in a later painting, the steam from a pot of soup curls through the afternoon sun as the young mother longs for a "center of true warmth" like that of her childhood. When she finds a stove just like her family's in an antique shop, she brings it home and teaches her son "to enter the pictures... to see... the living range restored." Erdrich skillfully works in homely details, crafting language both musical and evocative (the girl is "tucked into the stillness" on a winter night; the stove is the "warm heart of the house"). Sumptuous paintings of the plains and cozy domestic scenes combine with graceful language to describe the rituals that keep family and community together. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This poetic evocation of another time is based on the author's memories of all the things a kitchen wood cookstove was to her. She and her mother made soup, the dog gnawed on the bones in front of the warm stove, and she slept on a cot facing the fire as it died down behind the glass. Children who have sat in front of a campfire or a fireplace can identify with the fantasies she beholds: the sounds of Windigo the ice monster at the door; or the real range eternal full of buffalo, wolves, and birds. But when electric wires are strung to their rural North Dakota house, that's it for the old woodstove, which is put out in the yard. At first, everyone is glad for the range's efficiency, especially in summer's heat, but the girl misses the "true center of warmth" in the house. Now, as a grown woman she finds an old stove in an antique store so her family can enjoy the range eternal, in both senses. The richly colored and textured paintings capture both the warmth of the story and the longing by contrasting sweeping panoramas with the focused intimacy of the interiors. It reads as if an elder were telling you about herself and life "back then." The book fits well into discussions of family memories, prairie life in the early 1900s, objects that become important to us, and what we gain or lose in the name if progress. 2002, Hyperion,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-In this evocative glimpse into the past, a narrator recalls the blue enamel stove of her childhood home in the mountains of North Dakota. Her mother cooks with one hand while feeding the fire with the other. A girl thaws herself by the stove after chores. Stones warmed in the stove keep feet cozy on winter nights; hot potatoes keep hands from freezing on winter walks to school. The stove offers more than heat. It provides light and comfort against night fears and casts shadows on the wall that turn into pictures of the plains long ago, thick with grazing buffalo. The raised lettering on the stove, The Range Eternal, provides an early writing lesson. Much is lost the year electricity comes down the road, and the enamel range is traded for an electric one. Years later, the nostalgic young woman finds The Range Eternal in an antique store and is able to bring her memories to life for her son and her husband. Dreamy illustrations in muted colors float across the pages with the texture of steam, wind, and shadows forming connections between past and present. This is a peaceful story of imagination, memories, and the ties among generations.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Erdrich (Birchbark House, 1999, etc.) draws multiple meanings from the title in a poetic reminiscence founded on childhood memories. First, there’s an actual wood-burning, cast-iron stove with "Range Eternal" embossed on its oven door, at which the narrator’s mother used to stand. Then, while remembering how its warmth used to keep the wintry Windigo at bay on cold nights, the narrator recalls peering into its firebox, and being carried away on its flames and smoke: "I saw the range of the buffalo . . . I ran the deer range. I ran the bear range . . . I flew the sky, the range of herons, of cranes, hawks, and eagles. I saw the Range Eternal." Using billows of soft, subtly nuanced color, Johnson and Fancher (New York’s Bravest, p. 961, etc.) not only evoke those transformative dreams, but also capture a sense of how that stove formed a focal point in the lives of that child and her isolated family. Now an adult, the writer misses something in her life, until a chance glimpse into an antique shop allows her to regain the Range Eternal, in both literal and figurative senses. The metaphor may have more meaning for adults, but children too will be captivated by the lyrical art and prose. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786802203
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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