When the Whippoorwill Calls

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"Young Polly describes how her family is removed from their land in the Blue Ridge Mountains when the government buys it to create Shenandoah National Park. They are given a modern house and land in exchange, but they miss the hills they have calledhome....Stunning."—School Library Journal.

A Blue Ridge Mountain family is displaced to the flatlands by the creation of the Shenandoah National Park.

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Overview

"Young Polly describes how her family is removed from their land in the Blue Ridge Mountains when the government buys it to create Shenandoah National Park. They are given a modern house and land in exchange, but they miss the hills they have calledhome....Stunning."—School Library Journal.

A Blue Ridge Mountain family is displaced to the flatlands by the creation of the Shenandoah National Park.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2-5Young Polly describes how her family is removed from their land in the Blue Ridge Mountains when the government buys it to create Shenandoah National Park. They are given a modern house and land in exchange, but they miss the hills they have called home. At the end of the story, romanticized by hindsight, Polly's father is reconciled to his loss when he and the girl return to the land and find Merkles, rare mushrooms that thrive in abandoned orchards. ``Sometimes,'' he said, ``change is good.'' Root's meticulously rendered pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations often frame the spare text and are set against textured earth-toned borders that echo and illuminate the colors in each painting. Details of mountain life in the '20s and '30swork, recreation, houses, and sceneryare set out in both pictures and text, and give a clear picture of life in this time and place. For a picture book unit, this stunning effort might be paired with Alice and Martin Provensen's Shaker Lane (Viking, 1987) and Jane Yolen's Letting Swift River Go (Little, 1992), which also show people's reactions when government takes their property for other purposes.Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
Julie Yates Walton
Ransom didn't take the easy way out in this story of Blue Ridge Mountain tenant farmers uprooted by the creation of Shenandoah National Park. Instead of simply lamenting a vanished way of life, Ransom writes with a full spectrum of emotion, wringing from the story a well-considered metaphor for the mixed blessings of progress. Polly and her parents thrive on a life of simple pleasures in their "holler" until their landlord sells his property to the government. The house that her family is awarded in "the Flatlands" is, Polly must admit, a "glory, white-painted, with inside taps and electric lights." The family's gradual, bittersweet acceptance of change is handled with prodigious sensitivity. Applicable to any child undergoing a move, this story embraces both the appealing nuances of the family's former mountain life and the family's growing sense of home as independent of geography. Root's delicate, muted watercolor illustrations exude nostalgia and deepen the pathos of this moving, exquisitely crafted tale.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688127299
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 540L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.85 (w) x 11.39 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly Bulcken Root is the award-winning artist of several books for children. Her work includes When the Whippoorwill Calls, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Hugh Can Do and The Toll Bridge Troll, both ALA Notable Books; and gulliver in lilliput, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives with her husband, illustrator Barry Root, and their children, Janna, Samuel, and Benjamin, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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