Sunday, June 19, 2011

Children's Book Review: Ox Cart Man

Name of Book: Ox Cart Man
Author / Illustrator: Written by Donald Hall and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
What's It All About: The man packs all the things he and his family have made and grown all year long into his cart and goes to Portsmouth to sell everything.  Once he has sold everything, he buys some presents and necessities for his family and walks the many miles home.  The family spends the months making various household goods that the man will sell next year.
He sold the bag of wool.  He sold the shawl his wife made.  He sold five pairs of mittens.  He sold candles and shingles.  He sold birch brooms.  He sold potatoes.  He sold apples.  He sold honey and honeycombs, turnips and cabbages.  He sold maple sugar.  He sold a bag of goose feathers.   
My Favorite Bit: This book is simple and hard working and the illustrations match it.  I remember them doing this book on Reading Rainbow with Lavar Burton.  It's easy to get a feel for life in what I'm assuming was something like colonial times (or later with the Amish perhaps), but I like how everything has a purpose.  I like to know what is harvested in what month and what can be made on those long winter days by the fire.
Go Get It: Ox Cart Man in paperback at Amazon
Suitable Age For Reading It To: All ages can get interested in this quiet story, which carries such charm.
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: Author Donald Hall (born 1928) is an American poet appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.  He was born in Connecticut and went to Harvard and then Oxford and has published many works.

Illustrator Barbara Cooney (1917-2000) born in Brooklyn New York and lived on a farm with her husband, a physician.  She traveled to discover how to illustrate her stories.  Quote:
“How well an illustrator transfers an author’s ideas to his own medium is the measure of his success as an illustrator.” 


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