Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle

by Lara Bergen, Donald Cook

Washington Irving's masterpiece has entranced readers for over 165 years, and though many artists have illustrated this classic, none has so perfectly captured the mysterious adventures of Rip and the boisterous crew of Dutchmen as the great American artist N. C. Wyeth. In ten richly colored paintings and twenty-six vivid line drawings, Wyeth brilliantly recreated… See more details below

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Washington Irving's masterpiece has entranced readers for over 165 years, and though many artists have illustrated this classic, none has so perfectly captured the mysterious adventures of Rip and the boisterous crew of Dutchmen as the great American artist N. C. Wyeth. In ten richly colored paintings and twenty-six vivid line drawings, Wyeth brilliantly recreated the world of eighteent-century life in the Catskill Mountains.

Join henpecked farmer Rip Van Winkle as he escapes to the hills for a day of hunting. There he meets a strange dwarf and later a group of men playing ninepins. But when Rip drinks from their keg a few times, he falls into a deep sleep and wakes to find his beard full-grown and white, his wife gone, his daughter grown and married, and the whole country changed by the Revolution.

First published in 1921 and long unavailable, here is one of the bestloved American stories as illustrated by one of the most distinguished artists of our time.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers who haven't sat down recently with Irving's classic tale, or those who have yet to be introduced to it, are in for a treat. Written in 1820, the story of the slumbering Dutchman is remarkably fresh, told with verve and panache. In keeping with the caliber of the prose, Kelley's artwork echoes the classic tradition (and in fact occasionally brings to mind N. C. Wyeth). His light-dappled landscapes and portraits are drawn on a grand scale, and rendered in sombre, autumnal hues that hint at the story's innate mystery. Irving's puckish wit and droll descriptions are a delight. For more mature readers, the effort of navigating Irving's occasionally florid style is rewarded with many such morsels. Beautifully designed and elegantly type-set on high-quality stock, this book is as much a pleasure to hold as it is to read. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature
One does not know which to admire most, the story line that Washington Irving weaves or the artistry of the illustrator, Arthur Rackman. Readers of all ages have been enchanted with the story of Rip, who sleeps for twenty years, since it was first published in 1819. There have been many who have illustrated the story but none have captured the essence of the character and the beauty and magic of the Catskills as well as Arthur Rackman. You can see why Rackman has been recognized as the foremost illustrator of the 20th century when you view his paintings throughout the book. This deluxe edition of the American classic, with thirty-four of Rackman's paintings, makes a splendid gift to any child. 2000 (orig. 1819), Sea Star Books,
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Kelley uses his pastels to create amazing oil-like representations. His style, colors and light reflect the tones of the Flemish masters and revive the Hudson Valley life of the early Dutch settlers. Green predominates, giving a woodsy feel while creating a strong sense of setting and time. There is a softness of illustration that fits the long-ago fantasy story and that presents a dreamy representation of the main character who sleeps away so many years.
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
Loads of lore-little people and the specter of Henry Hudson-float through this unabridged tale, buoyed by the museum quality watercolors. This classic tale of a ne'er-do-well who sleeps through the Revolutionary War teaches the clothing, language and mind-set of those hearty early Dutch settlers in the mountains above the Hudson River. Rackham's full page plates glow with autumn colors and exquisite detail.
Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
This book is one in a series called "All Aboard Reading" designed for children in grades 1 to 3. It is a retelling of the classic tale of Rip Van Winkle using simple short sentences and repetition. The text is accompanied by large colorful illustrations which help give visual cues to children learning to read. Though the text is simplified, the story still holds the reader's interest, and children should enjoy reading about Rip Van Winkle's long nap!
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3In this version of the classic tale, Rip Van Winkle escapes to the hills to avoid work, meets little men with long beards, parties until he falls asleep, and awakens 20 years later. All of this is told in a controlled vocabulary suitable for beginning readers. However, this retelling is so watered-down that most of the story's flavor and nuances are lost. Rip goes to the woods to hunt, but in Bergen's tale he goes fishing. In the original, Rip and the little men get drunk on liquor; here, he drinks cider. Cook's watercolor and gouache illustrations are lovely, but his talent is wasted here. Introducing children to the classics is a good idea, but not at the expense of the literature. Rip Van Winkle (Little, Brown, 1988), retold and illustrated by John Howe, or Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle (Puffin, 1994), retold and illustrated by Thomas Locker, are suitable for this audience while retaining the integrity of the original story.Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
All Aboard Reading Series
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.18(d)
220L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Rip Van Winkle

A Posthumous Writing Of Diedrich Knickerbocker

[The following tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers. His historical researches, however, did not lie so much among books as among men; for the former are lamentably scanty on his favorite topics, whereas he found the old burghers, and still more their wives, rich in that legendary lore so invaluable to true history. Whenever, therefore, he happened upon a genuine Dutch family, snugly shut up in its lowroofed farmhouse under a spreading sycamore, he looked upon it as a little clasped volume of blackletter, and studied it with the zeal of a book-worm.

The result of all these researches was a history of the province during the reign of the Dutch governors, which he published some years since. There havebeen various opinions as to the literary character of his work, and, to tell the truth, it is not a whit better than it should be. Its chief merit is its scrupulous accuracy, which indeed was a little questioned on its first appearance, but has since been completely established; and it is now admitted into all historical collections as a book of unquestionable authority.

The old gentleman died shortly after the publication of his work, and now that he is dead and gone, it cannot do much harm to his memory to say that his time might have been much better employed in weightier labors. He, however, was apt to ride his hobby his own way; and though it did now and then kick up thedust a little in the eyes of his neighbors, and grieve the spirit of some friends for whom he felt the truest deference and affection; yet his errors and follies are remembered "more in sorrow than in anger," and it begins to be suspected that he never intended to injure or offend. But, however his memory may be appreciated by critics, it is still held dear by many folk whose good opinion is well worth having; particularly by certain biscuit-bakers, who have gone so far as to imprint his likeness on their new-year cakes, and have thus given him a chance for immortality almost equal to the being stamped on a Waterloo medal or a Queen Anne's farthing.]

By Woden, God of Saxons,
From whence comes Wensday, that is Wodensday,
Truth is a thing that ever I will keep
Unto thylke day in which I creep into
My sepulchre.

Whoever has made a voyage up the Hudson must remember the Kaatskill Mountains. They are a dismembered branch of the great Appalachian family, and are seen away to the west of the river, swelling up to a noble height and lordingit over the surrounding country. Every change of season, every change of weather, indeed, every hour of the day, produces some change in the magical hues and shapes of these mountains, and they are regarded by all the good wives, far and near, as perfect barometers. When the weather is fair and settled, they are clothed in blue and purple, and print their bold outlines on the clear evening sky; but sometimes, when the rest of the landscape is cloudless, they will gather a hood of gray vapors about their summits, which in the last rays of the setting sun will glow and light up like a crown of glory.

At the foot of these fairy mountains the voyager may have descried the light smoke curling up from a village, whose shingle roofs gleam among the trees just where the blue tints of the upland melt away into the fresh green of the nearer landscape. It is a little village of great antiquity, having been founded by some of the Dutch colonists in the early times of the province, just about the beginning of the government of the good Peter Stuyvesant (may he rest in peace!), and there were some of the houses of the original settlers standing within a few years, built of small yellow bricks brought from Holland, having latticed windows and gable fronts surmounted with weathercocks.

In that same village, and in one of these very houses (which, to tell the precise truth, was sadly time-worn and weatherbeaten), there lived many years since, while the country was yet a province of Great Britain, a simple good-natured fellow of the name of Rip Van Winkle. He was a descendant of the Van Winkles who figured so gallantly in the chivalrous days of Peter Stuyvesant and accompanied him to the siege of Fort Christina. He inherited, however, but little of the martial character of his ancestors. I have observed that he was a simple good-natured man; he was, moreover, a kind neighbor and an obedient henpecked husband. Indeed, to the latter circumstance might be owing that meekness of spirit which gained him such universal popularity; for those men are most apt to be obsequious and conciliating abroad who are under the discipline of shrews at home. Their tempers, doubtless, are rendered pliant and malleable in the fiery furnace of domestic tribulation, and a curtain lecture is worth all the sermons in the world for teaching the virtues of patience and long-suffering. A termagant wife may therefore, in some respects, be considered a tolerable blessing; and if so, Rip Van Winkle was thrice blessed.

Certain it is that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles, and never failed, whenever they talked those matters over in their evening gossipings, to lay all the blame on Dame Van Winkle. The children of the village, too, would shout with joy whenever he approachaaed. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories of ghosts, witches, and Indians.

Rip Van Winkle. Copyright © by Washington Irving. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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