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Thoreau at Walden

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"I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship, but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely." So said Henry David Thoreau in 1845 when he began his famous experiment in living on Walden Pond. In this graphic masterpiece, John Porcellino uses only the words of Thoreau himself to tell the story of those two years off the beaten track. The pared-down text focuses on Thoreau's most profound ideas, and Porcellino's fresh, simple pictures bring the philosopher's sojourn at Walden to
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Overview

"I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship, but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely." So said Henry David Thoreau in 1845 when he began his famous experiment in living on Walden Pond. In this graphic masterpiece, John Porcellino uses only the words of Thoreau himself to tell the story of those two years off the beaten track. The pared-down text focuses on Thoreau's most profound ideas, and Porcellino's fresh, simple pictures bring the philosopher's sojourn at Walden to cinematic life. For readers who know Walden intimately, this graphic treatment will provide a vivid new interpretation of Thoreau's story. For those who have never read (or never completed!) the original, it presents a contemporary look at a few brave words to live by.
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Editorial Reviews

VOYA
I was not born to be forced. . . . I will breathe after my own fashion. Henry David Thoreau was definitely a man who followed his own fashion, not caring one bit what others thought. From 1845-1847, he lived in solitude in a house he built himself on Walden Pond. On a rare visit to town, he was jailed briefly for not paying taxes. His independent lifestyle and thought-provoking declarations have inspired many since then. Porcellino follows Thoreau through those two years, setting his words in a series of black-and-white cartoon panels. Unfortunately the drawings are amateurish and unappealing; diminishing any affect Thoreau's statements might have upon readers discovering him for the first time. Truly Thoreau was a simple dresser, but here he appears to be wearing a cereal bowl upon his head. His slash of a mouth changes positions to express emotions. The townspeople appear confused or angry; some are merely heads floating through space. In an afterword, "panel discussions" provide further explanations behind the illustrated events. There is also a short recap of Thoreau's life. For a man with such a huge influence, which continues even today, one would expect much more striking artwork using bold, vibrant colors to frame his discourses. Reviewer: Pam Carlson
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up -This book is true in spirit to Thoreau's writings and to underground comics. It is fairly linear, using short quotes and simple line drawings to tell of the time the philosopher spent at Walden Pond. Porcellino chose many well-known sayings and events and placed them within a spare visual context-the woods are little more than gray shading, Thoreau himself a few smooth lines in the foreground. Despite its simple design, or more likely because of it, Thoreau's sometimes-difficult philosophical statements are clearly articulated. Best known for his cry of "simplify, simplify, simplify," the philosopher's ideas are well served by Porcellino's lean interpretation of the work of this seminal American icon.-Steev Baker, Kewaskum Public Library, WI

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Pairing terse extracts from Thoreau's writings with very simple line drawings in squared-off panels, Porcellino artfully presents a compelling sense of the philosopher's voice, his powers of observation and his sensitivity to the world around him. Sandwiched between an introduction by D.B. Johnson (Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, 2000, etc.) and an extensive closing section of citations and commentary, the account picks up as Thoreau realizes, wandering through Concord, that "the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." This leads to Thoreau's simple life at Walden Pond and the brief arrest for tax evasion that provided the occasion for "Civil Disobedience," closing with his conclusion that "Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads." By mixing panels with and without text, Porcellino creates a poetic alternation of words and silences that effectively draws the reader into Thoreau's point of view. This graphic portrait will enrich the insight into his life and character afforded by Johnson's fictionalized episodes, or Robert Burleigh's Man Named Thoreau (1985). (bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423100386
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 10 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Porcellino has been writing, drawing, and publishing minicomics, comics, and graphic novels for the last twenty-five years. His celebrated series King-Cat Comics, begun in 1989, has inspired a generation of cartoonists. Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, a collection of King-Cat stories about Porcellino's experiences as a pest control worker, won an Ignatz Award in 2005. Perfect Example, first published in 2000, chronicles his struggles with depression as a teenager. According to cartoonist Chris Ware, "John Porcellino's comics distill, in just a few lines and words, the feeling of simply being alive."

Porcellino currently lives in Denver with his wife Misun, and a small black cat named Maisie Kukoc.

See above.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted June 28, 2014

    Nice,,,, Great...!

    Nice,,,, Great...!

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