Walloping Window-Blind

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Overview

"Like the wacky crew of the ship in Carryl's classic nonsense poem, readers will 'cheerily put to sea' in this captivating picture book....LaMarche's gleeful illustrations capture the spirit of this rollicking read-aloud....Pure magic."—Publishers Weekly

An illustrated version of the nonsense poem about an extraordinary ship and the follies and misadventures of her madcap crew.

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Overview

"Like the wacky crew of the ship in Carryl's classic nonsense poem, readers will 'cheerily put to sea' in this captivating picture book....LaMarche's gleeful illustrations capture the spirit of this rollicking read-aloud....Pure magic."—Publishers Weekly

An illustrated version of the nonsense poem about an extraordinary ship and the follies and misadventures of her madcap crew.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like the wacky crew of the ship in Carryl's classic nonsense poem, readers will ``cheerily put to sea'' in this captivating picture book. With his brush dipped in the same luminous colors that lit up The Rainbabies , LaMarche puts a fresh face on the adventures aboard the Window-blind , here presented as a highly original craft (part airplane, part sailing ship) with a multicultural crew composed entirely of children. Larger-than-life perspectives invite readers to step right in and participate, whether the cast is dipping the cook ``in a tub of his gluesome food'' or watching the ``apparently mad'' gunner ``fire salutes in the captain's boots / In the teeth of a booming gale.'' LaMarche's gleeful illustrations capture the spirit of this rollicking read-aloud; there's a sense of joy and abandon in his artwork, as well as genuine wonder, which taps deeply into the intensely felt imaginary worlds of children. The result is pure magic. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- An old poem, dating from 1885, illustrated with boisterously comical scenes of 19th-century seamen aboard a wildly careening sailing ship. The pompous captain in gold braid and the jolly tars in striped shirts cavort across the full-page, white-bordered paintings--now up, now down--as the ship sails ``in the teeth of the booming gale.'' The nonsense of the verse is pictured literally, from the mad gunner who fires salutes with the captain's boots to the landing on the ``Gulliby Isles, where the Poohpooh smiles.'' In the final scene the sailors, ``uncommonly shrunk'' by their diet of rubagub bark, are rescued by the pigtailed crew of a Chinese junk. Leaping dolphins on the endpapers set the mood for a sea journey, and the glimpse of a sleeping boy in the corner of the title page prepares readers for the surreal events and dreamlike illogic within. For those who would rather sing than speak the rhythmic, bouncing lines, the music that was later adapted to the verses is printed on the last leaf. Strictly for fun, Rand's illustrated poem makes a walloping good read-aloud. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Kathryn Broderick
Carryl's nineteenth-century nonsense poem about a fantastical seafaring voyage is whimsically illustrated by LaMarche, illustrator of Melmed's "Rainbabies" (1992). This version is different than an earlier one illustrated by Ted Rand (1992) in that it is not presented as a song. Instead, the nonsense verse is but an accompaniment to the rich gold-and-purple double-page spreads that illuminate a watery world where the ship's crew of children play as only children can play. It's a wonderful place, and the artist's sudden zoom-lens perspectives bring it a bit closer to home. A good bedtime story that will surely stir the imagination.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688125172
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/29/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.66 (w) x 12.48 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim LaMarche wrote and illustrated The Raft. He also illustrated Little Oh and The Rainbabies, both by Laura Krauss Melmed. He lives in Santa Cruz, California. In His Own Words...

"It's funny how things turn out. I wasn't one of those kids with a clear vision of the future, the ones who know at age five that they will be writers or doctors or artists. I liked to draw, but then, so did most of the kids I knew, and growing up to be an artist never really occurred to me. What I did want to be, in order of preference, was a magician, Davy Crockett, a doctor, a priest (until I found out they couldn't get married), and a downhill ski racer.

"But I always loved to make things, and once I got going on a project I loved, I stuck with it. Once, when I was five or six, I cut a thousand cloth feathers out of an old sheet, which I then attempted to glue to my bony little body. I was sure I could have flown off the back porch if I'd just had a better glue. Another time I dug up some smooth blue-gray clay from the field behind our house, then molded it into an entire zoo, dried the animals in the sun, and painted them as realistically as I could. I made a grotto out of cement, a shoe box, and my fossil collection. I made moccasins out of an old deerhide I found in the basement.

"I grew up in the little Wisconsin town of Kewaskum, the soul of which was the Milwaukee River. In the summer we rafted on it and swam in it. In the winter we skated on it, sometimes traveling miles upriver. In the spring and fall my dad took us on long canoe trips, silently sneaking up on deer, heron, and fields of a thousand Canada geese. And almost all year long we fished for bullheads and northerns from the dam.

"I began college at the University of Wisconsin as a biology major, but somewhere along the line—I'm not sure when or even why—I switched to art, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in art. I still had no idea of becoming a professional artist, however. In the meantime, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, to work with United Tribes of North Dakota creating school curriculum materials. It was a great job. Because there were only a few of us, I was able to try my hand at a little of everything: writing, graphic design, photography, and illustration. It was then that I slowly realized that it might be possible for me to make a living at art. I moved to California, and in the evenings-after working all day as a carpenter's assistant—I put together a portfolio.

"Twenty years later, I'm still here, living in Santa Cruz with my wife, Toni, and our three sons, Mario, Jean-Paul, and Dominic. The Pacific Ocean is only a few blocks away, and the scenery is very different from that of the Midwest, but somehow Kewaskum and the Milwaukee River show up in almost everything I draw. They provided the details of setting for The Rainbabies, Carousel, and Grandmother's Pigeon, and they are the setting for the book I'm working on now, my own story about the magic of a raft.

"I feel very lucky to have ended up as an illustrator of children's books. And maybe that isn't so different from my childhood dream of being a magician after all. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with nothing up my sleeves, I get to create something that was never there before."

Jim LaMarche wrote and illustrated The Raft. He also illustrated Little Oh and The Rainbabies, both by Laura Krauss Melmed. He lives in Santa Cruz, California. In His Own Words...

"It's funny how things turn out. I wasn't one of those kids with a clear vision of the future, the ones who know at age five that they will be writers or doctors or artists. I liked to draw, but then, so did most of the kids I knew, and growing up to be an artist never really occurred to me. What I did want to be, in order of preference, was a magician, Davy Crockett, a doctor, a priest (until I found out they couldn't get married), and a downhill ski racer.

"But I always loved to make things, and once I got going on a project I loved, I stuck with it. Once, when I was five or six, I cut a thousand cloth feathers out of an old sheet, which I then attempted to glue to my bony little body. I was sure I could have flown off the back porch if I'd just had a better glue. Another time I dug up some smooth blue-gray clay from the field behind our house, then molded it into an entire zoo, dried the animals in the sun, and painted them as realistically as I could. I made a grotto out of cement, a shoe box, and my fossil collection. I made moccasins out of an old deerhide I found in the basement.

"I grew up in the little Wisconsin town of Kewaskum, the soul of which was the Milwaukee River. In the summer we rafted on it and swam in it. In the winter we skated on it, sometimes traveling miles upriver. In the spring and fall my dad took us on long canoe trips, silently sneaking up on deer, heron, and fields of a thousand Canada geese. And almost all year long we fished for bullheads and northerns from the dam.

"I began college at the University of Wisconsin as a biology major, but somewhere along the line—I'm not sure when or even why—I switched to art, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in art. I still had no idea of becoming a professional artist, however. In the meantime, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota, to work with United Tribes of North Dakota creating school curriculum materials. It was a great job. Because there were only a few of us, I was able to try my hand at a little of everything: writing, graphic design, photography, and illustration. It was then that I slowly realized that it might be possible for me to make a living at art. I moved to California, and in the evenings-after working all day as a carpenter's assistant—I put together a portfolio.

"Twenty years later, I'm still here, living in Santa Cruz with my wife, Toni, and our three sons, Mario, Jean-Paul, and Dominic. The Pacific Ocean is only a few blocks away, and the scenery is very different from that of the Midwest, but somehow Kewaskum and the Milwaukee River show up in almost everything I draw. They provided the details of setting for The Rainbabies, Carousel, and Grandmother's Pigeon, and they are the setting for the book I'm working on now, my own story about the magic of a raft.

"I feel very lucky to have ended up as an illustrator of children's books. And maybe that isn't so different from my childhood dream of being a magician after all. Starting with a clean sheet of paper and with nothing up my sleeves, I get to create something that was never there before."

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