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Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art
     

Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art

by Diane Siebert, Stephen T. Johnson (Illustrator)
 

From New Hampshire's formidable Mount Washington to San Francisco's spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, the scenic treasures of the United States are brilliantly captured in this artistic tour de force. Award-winning poet Diane Seibert's inventive poems are perfectly paired with Caldecott Honorrecipient Stephen Johnson's compelling imagery. Each turn of the page offers

Overview

From New Hampshire's formidable Mount Washington to San Francisco's spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, the scenic treasures of the United States are brilliantly captured in this artistic tour de force. Award-winning poet Diane Seibert's inventive poems are perfectly paired with Caldecott Honorrecipient Stephen Johnson's compelling imagery. Each turn of the page offers a surprisewhether it's an impressionistic painting of Niagara Falls, a wild collage of Las Vegas, or an evocative tallgrass prairie landscape. Additional facts about each site and a list of art media are provided, making this distinguished volume a gem for the study of literature, art, history, or geography.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A colorful portrait of the American landscape that could awaken anyone's travel bug." New York Times

This stunning tour of America highlights 26 of the poet's favorite sights, which are as varied as the nation itself. Siebert's striking word choices and images reflect the essence of each subject, from the electric excitement of "The El"-(Chicago)"look! right up there!/up in the air!"-to the desolate landscape of the Badlands (South Dakota), "cracked by frost and baked by sun/sliced and scarred where waters run." The collection features many surprises: the Aurora Borealis (Alaska) that "flames/and/drapes/when solar winds are blowing" and Bristlecone Pines (Nevada) where "The slopes will still hold roots of trees/Whose gnarled limbs, bleached white as bones,/Attest to all the centuries/That shape the ancient bristlecones." A double-page map at the beginning of the book alerts readers to the exciting destinations they will experience, and a smaller map and inset box of additional information for each sight increase the educational value. Johnson masterfully varies his medium and art style to reflect the mood of each locale. There are quiet watercolors ("American Town") and dynamic collages ("The El") as well as pastels, oils, acrylics, and photos. An impressive "List of Art and Mediums" appears at the end of the book. This distinguished offering blends poetry, geography, art, and history. -School Library Journal, starred review "

The accessible words, open design, and appealing geographic approach make the book ideal for classrooms. Johnson's impressively varied, sophisticated images of towns and landscapes may expand the book's audience to older art students." -Booklist

Children's Literature
America is full of so many amazing places that it must have been difficult for Siebert to select only twenty-six. Her choices include the famous and the fascinating, natural beauty, and man-made wonders. Visits to the Washington Monument, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Las Vegas, and the Kentucky Derby inspired poems about our history, culture, and symbols. Lesser-known artworks, such as the "Cadillac Ranch" near Amarillo, Texas, and "Lucy the Elephant" in Margate, New Jersey, show us the more idiosyncratic side of Americans. Here one can read about the awesome power of Niagara Falls and Mount Saint Helens, the vanishing beauty of the tall grass prairie and the everglades, the Aurora Borealis in Alaska, UFOs in Roswell, New Mexico, and the Vortex in Gold Hill, Oregon. Next to the poem and above a rectangle with information about the area are small outline maps of the contiguous United States and the state in the title of the poem. Red lines indicate the location of each place. Siebert's poems are fresh and vibrant. Each is distinct in its pace and tone, reflecting the mood of the place. Just as distinctive are the illustrations that accompany the poems, giving a broader picture to the reader. Johnson uses a wide range of art and mediums and lists them in the back of the book. Watercolor, oil, collage, photography, colored pencil, and more have been used, sometimes alone and sometimes mixed, and the results are amazing. With a bit of a postmark on each page, it truly feels like Siebert and Johnson have sent postcards from each of these places. Wonderful for geography, history, science, art, and English classes—why it can even become a math lesson in determining how far it is from one placeto another. What a great way to get children to look at their surroundings and write their own poems. This is a beautiful book to hold, to peruse, and to read aloud. It is definitely a "first purchase" for libraries, and an excellent choice for a gift. 2006, Seastar Books/Chronicle Books, Ages 7 up.
—Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up-This stunning tour of America highlights 26 of the poet's favorite sights, which are as varied as the nation itself. Siebert's striking word choices and images reflect the essence of each subject, from the electric excitement of "The El"-(Chicago)"look! right up there!/up in the air!"-to the desolate landscape of the Badlands (South Dakota), "cracked by frost and baked by sun/sliced and scarred where waters run." The collection features many surprises: the Aurora Borealis (Alaska) that "flames/and/drapes/when solar winds are blowing" and Bristlecone Pines (Nevada) where "The slopes will still hold roots of trees/Whose gnarled limbs, bleached white as bones,/Attest to all the centuries/That shape the ancient bristlecones." A double-page map at the beginning of the book alerts readers to the exciting destinations they will experience, and a smaller map and inset box of additional information for each sight increase the educational value. Johnson masterfully varies his medium and art style to reflect the mood of each locale. There are quiet watercolors ("American Town") and dynamic collages ("The El") as well as pastels, oils, acrylics, and photos. An impressive "List of Art and Mediums" appears at the end of the book. This distinguished offering blends poetry, geography, art, and history.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Siebert once again mines her knowledge of the United States, gained during a ten-year motorcycle odyssey with her husband, to produce poems that celebrate sites famous and lesser known. The combination of familiar sights, like the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Rushmore, with less celebrated landmarks such as Lucy the Elephant (found in N.J.), helps to give the book a fresh appeal, as do the evocative illustrations by Johnson, which are executed in a variety of media. This engaging diversity of approaches and styles meshes well with the variety of forms Siebert employs. The inclusion of a small map, as well as additional information for each location, adds charm and browsability. Those unmoved by Siebert's paeans may be fascinated by the facts, such as the note that "Keeping the [Golden Gate] bridge painted is an endless task accomplished by a team of 38 painters who brush on 3,000 to 8,000 gallons of orange vermillion (International Orange) paint every year." Entertaining, educational and possibly even inspirational. (list of art and mediums) (Poetry/nonfiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811850568
Publisher:
Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
06/01/2006
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
10.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
4 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Diane Siebert and her husband left their jobs, sold their possessions, and set out on an incredible ten-year journey around the United States (and some of Mexico). This experience inspired her many award- winning children's books: Truck Song , Train Song , Plane Song , Motorcycle Song , Heartland , Mojave , Sierra , Rhyolite , Mississippi , and Cave . She lives in Oregon.

Stephen Johnson is the author-illustrator of such well-known books as My Little Red Toolbox , City by Number , and the Caldecott Honor winning Alphabet City . He lives in Kansas with his wife and two daughters.

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