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Tulip Sees America

Tulip Sees America

by Cynthia Rylant, Lisa Desimini (Illustrator)

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Tulip Sees America (PB)


Tulip Sees America (PB)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rylant (Missing May; Cat Heaven) and Desimini (Love Letters) take to the open road in this picture book scrapbook. A young man who has never ventured beyond his Ohio homeland buys a green Beetle and heads west with his dog, Tulip. They see the farms of Iowa ("Green, green rolling hills and black garden soil all around them"), the "vast and dark and low and ominous" skies in Nebraska and the wide Nevada desert. And once they reach the Oregon coast, they decide to stay. Rylant's own 1993 move to Oregon with her son and two dogs inspired this celebration of the West's natural treasures. Her vibrant descriptions paired with Desimini's velvety paintings will have readers hankering to travel. With the help of computer technology, Desimini creates dark and dreamy colorscapes, dotted with animals, clouds and trees. While her scenery sparkles, Desimini's depiction of the protagonist is inconsistent. In several scenes he appears childlike-much too young to be driving solo cross-country. Readers may also be misled by the book's title, since the tour includes only six of the 50 states (readers miss out on majestic California, for example). All in all, it's still an ardent tribute to a diverse countryand an exhilarating trip. Ages 4-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
With this odd book about a young man who travels from Ohio to Oregon with his dog Tulip, it's hard to tell if it's for children or young adults. With beautiful descriptions of mountains, skies, winds, and farms, the loosely poetic prose is compelling, lyrical, and often choppy. It pertains more to the coming of age, finding yourself interests of young adults than the adventurous quests of younger readers. Perhaps young kids are meant to connect with the dog mentioned in the title, but the illustrations and the text clearly place the focus more on the narrator/driver. Still, younger children may enjoy the dramatic portrayal of the topography and weather of various states. There is also an odd scene when the narrator disrobes in the desert for no apparent reason. The inclusion of this scene portrays nakedness, not nudity. Many young children do enjoy the freedom of the running around the buff, but the narrator doesn't provide a clear explanation of the importance of this element. The bright, computer-enhanced illustrations are dynamic, vibrant, and eye-catching.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4"My parents were homebodies..../But when I grew up,/I knew I was different./I wanted to see America." Thus, the unnamed narrator drives off to see the country, from Ohio to Oregon, accompanied by his dog, Tulip. Rylant's poetic text does not give a tour-guide catalog of sights, but rather rhapsodizes on the salient features of the changing landscape. The images spark an emotional response that lingers in the mind. For example, she describes the ocean in Oregon: "You are on a cliff/and the water is below you/and as far as you can see,/and you think/the earth has dropped/away from you and/you'd better know how to swim." The artwork looks like a mixture of Chagall and American Primitive and supports the dreamlike, out-of-time quality of the narrative. The full-bleed, full-page pictures depict each region and the printed text is incorporated into the overall design. The illustrations, which were produced by scanning oil paintings into a computer for the finishing touches, are rich with the textures of the oils combined with the luminescent color quality of computer graphics. While many libraries may not consider this a necessary purchase, it is an attractive book that aptly conveys that feeling of wonder at discovering new places. It could inspire children to talk or write about places they have seen.Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Kirkus Reviews
Inspired by her own journey westward, Rylant puts a young traveler and his dog, Tulip, into a green VW Beetle and sends them from Ohio to Oregon. Each state brings a new wonder: farms in Iowa, skies "like one great long breath of freedom and air" in Nebraska, wind in Wyoming, mountains in Colorado, a wide desert in Nevada, a sudden ocean in Oregon. Using computer-manipulated oil paintings, Desimini creates a series of full-bleed, undulant landscapes with the strong shadows and compressed perspectives of dioramas. The title is hyperbolic, but Rylant's poetic language and the art's striking forms and colors communicate equal strength and intensity of feeling. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.58(w) x 9.12(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

CYNTHIA RYLANT is the acclaimed author of many beloved books for young people, including the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, the novel Missing May, which received the Newbery Medal, and the Little Whistle series. She lives on an island in Puget Sound, Washington. ARTHUR HOWARD is best known as the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series. He is also the illustrator of Kathi Appelt's Bubba and Beau series and has written and illustrated three picture books of his own: Hoodwinked; When I Was Five, an ABA's Pick of the Lists and a Crayola Kids Best Book; and Cosmo Zooms, an IRA-CBC Children's Choice. He lives in New York City.

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