Sunday, September 13, 2009

Children's Book Monday

Continuing in my new tradition of sharing books for the autumn season, I've chosen an original tale, wonderfully illustrated in a folk-art style with watercolor and gouache. The rich, deep hues and country setting whisper autumn to me, although the story is set in spring and summer...

The Animal Hedge
by Paul Fleischman
illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Before you've even begun the story, you feel as if you're lying inside a patchwork quilt, flowered and checked; the figures of farmers and pitchforks and fiddles and sheep and chickens in the rich hues I mentioned are a story in themselves.

But go ahead and turn to the first page- the story is even better!

A farmer, whose heart glowed like a hot wood stove with the love of animals, lives with his three sons on a farm, and they sing while they work. Each son prefers a different style of singing, but the farmer always chooses the songs of the barnyard; sheep being shorn, colts being born, and ducklings trailing behind their mothers.

But after spring planting the rain never comes, and eventually the farmer must sell his animals and, finally, his farm. In the humble, hedge-lined cottage they must now call home, he urges his sons to choose a trade, for he no longer has land to offer them as an inheritance. And he no longer sings while he works.

But when rain comes, the land surrounding the cottage becomes green, a creek rushes by, and the hedge has become lush and full.

And the farmer sees something in the hedge that will make him sing again; taking his hedge clippers in hand, he tends to it, creating *life* that makes him smile. And, one day, his sons' actions make his heart, once more, glow like a hot wood stove...

We hope you enjoy The Animal Hedge as much as we do- it sits in a basket of fall books on the nature table, for rich colors and words that warm the heart are as much a sign of the season as the weather, yes?

Happy Reading!

4 fellow travelers shared:

Ericka said...

Oh, we LOVE this book! I'd forgotten about it, actually! I'll have to snag it on my next trip to the library. Thanks for the reminder:)

Stacey said...

delightful! one of our favorites as well!

Linda said...

You make me wish I still had little ones here to read to. It sounds like a delightful book.

Stacy said...

Elise,
We just got this in from the library yesterday- and loved it! What a treasure! Thank you! :)

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