Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Pen that Pa built, by David Edwards, illustrations by Ashley Wolff - review

The Pen That Pa Builtby David Edwards, illustrations by Ashley Wolff
Man, it always seems that these cumulative stories (The Apple Pie That Papa Baked, This Is the Van That Dad Cleaned, Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain) have the best illustrations. Such a shame I find them so daggone tedious. This one at least has an interesting subject - it shows how a pre-industrial American family would have processed wool from sheep to blanket: washing it, spinning it, dying it, and weaving it on a loom.

Makes me think of Donald Hall's portrait of Colonial farm life from a while back, Ox-Cart Man, and the illustrations, reminiscent of woodcuts but dense with color, are rich and satisfying. Ashley Wolff also illustrated Philemon Sturges's She'll Be Comin''Round the Mountain, one of my all-time favorite we-love-our-librarian books.

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