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South African Night
     

South African Night

by Rachel Isadora
 

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Twilight in Johannesburg, South Africa, finds the bustle of the city beginning to subside. Work is over, and it is time for rest. But in Kruger National Park the setting sun beckons the animals and their young from the bush. On the darkened plain it is time to hunt, to graze, and to cool off in the night air. Rachel Isadora's portrayals of South Africa that

Overview

Twilight in Johannesburg, South Africa, finds the bustle of the city beginning to subside. Work is over, and it is time for rest. But in Kruger National Park the setting sun beckons the animals and their young from the bush. On the darkened plain it is time to hunt, to graze, and to cool off in the night air. Rachel Isadora's portrayals of South Africa that delighted her readers in At the Crossroads and Over the Green Hills continue in this breathtakingly beautiful picture book.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Isadora has both written and illustrated this picture book inspired by her visits to South Africa. The concept is very simple: evening and morning views of Johannesburg frame a central series of paintings showing the nightlife of Kruger National Park. Isadora uses rich watercolors to bring the wild inhabitants to life. Lionesses and leopards hunt, elephants and others visit water holes. Most impressive is her vision of a black mamba raising his head over his dark and watery domain. This is an effective introduction to the country for little ones.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3--This simply written picture book focuses on the transition from day to night, contrasting the activities of humans in Johannesburg with those of the animals in Kruger National Park after the sun sets. First, readers see twilight in the city as stores close and people return home. Children and their parents take a stroll before dark. House lights come on as a little girl sleeps with a doll tucked close beside her. As day slides into night, the inhabitants of Kruger Park come to life. A mamba snake, lionesses, a leopard, a hippopotamus, and elephants are shown in their respective quests for food and water. With the sunrise, the animals seek shade to sleep, while in the city, flower vendors line up their goods on the streets. Isadora's vibrant watercolor illustrations are evocative of both the human bustle and the wild untamed life force of the animals; the open vistas of the park are effectively contrasted with the crowded streets. This excellent read-aloud will also serve well as a lucid concept book.--Gebregeorgis Yohannes, San Francisco Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
South Africa by day is a bustling city with tall buildings, teeming crowds, and busy markets; but at night the animals reign. After showing people in Johannesburg and a toddler asleep in her bed, Isadora (Isadora Dances, p. 113, etc.) moves viewers to Kruger National Park. The black mamba snake raises its head for a meal, lions and hungry leopards roam and hunt, and the peaceful elephant and her young drink at a water hole beneath a starry sky. As the sun rises, the animals slumber and the people again take to the streets. This juxtaposition of viewpoints will help children understand some of the contrasts of contemporary Africa. The illustrations of busy, daytime Johannesburg are colorful and full of detail, while scenes at the animal park are murky, conveying both a sense of the shadowy unknown and the vast open spaces. Ghost-like lionesses move in a smoky landscape of gray and tan where there is no visible demarcation between ground and sky. An astonishing sunrise scene finds the animals settling down under a wide orange sky, while the city market comes alive with flower-sellers and shoppers, ready for a new day. Children will be fascinated by this co-existenceþa peaceable kingdom of sorts, with every rotation of the earth. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688113896
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina—and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is a dancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

Many children dream of becoming dancers, musicians, actors, and artists, but few have the opportunity, the skill, and the determination to live out those dreams. Rachel Isadora is the exception. When she was young, she wanted to be a ballerina—and she became one. And now she has firmly established herself in a second career as an artist with an impressive string of picture books, including Ben's Trumpet, a Caldecott Honor Book.

Born and raised in New York City, Rachel studied at the School of American Ballet (associated with the New York City Ballet) as a Ford Foundation scholarship student. She danced with the Boston Ballet until a foot injury forced her to consider another career: book illustration. "I had always drawn for my own entertainment," says Rachel, "but I'd never had any instruction, and I wasn't sure how to proceed. So I just took a collection of sketches-odds and ends on bits of paper-to the first editor who would see me. She suggested I do a book about what I knew best." The result was Max, published in 1976 and named an ALA Notable Book.

Since Max, Rachel has written and illustrated many other books, and has illustrated three books by her editor, Elizabeth Shub. When Rachel begins a new book, she first imagines the story through the pictures. I 'see' each illustration separately," she says. "I write a description of what I envision on each page; then I go over it with my editor and make revisions. Next I do the actual drawing, and finally I write the text."

Rachel Isadora lives in New York City with her two children. When she is not busy with her family, she spends most of her spare time drawing. "Work like this is a dancer's fantasy," she says. "Because ballet is so demanding, dancers' stage careers are short. They can only dream of going on and on forever. With art, I can go on and on, and for me it's the only work that compares in intensity and joy."

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