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Island Boy (Picture Puffins) Paperback – June 1, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Cooney attended a boarding school as a child. Never considering an art school and wanting a liberal arts education, she later attended Smith College where she studied art history and received her degree in 1938, a decision she was later to regret.
Realizing that she needed to make a living at something, she decided that illustrating books was a career as good as any. She attended classes on etching and lithography at the Art Students League in New York City.
She quickly received assignments after getting a portfolio together and schlepping it around to publishers, but, unfortunately, World War II postponed her new career for a bit. Recalling an earlier trip to Germany prior to the war and the horrors that she had seen there, she was compelled to join the Women's Army Corps during the summer of 1942.
She enrolled in officer training and achieved the rank of second lieutenant, but was honorably discharged the following spring because of marriage and the pregnancy of her first child, Gretel. She married Guy Murchie, Jr., a war correspondent, in December of 1944. In 1945, the young couple bought a farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts where they ran a children's camp during the summer months. One can only imagine that, perhaps, family life didn't suit Mr. Murchie and the couple divorced in March of 1947, but not before having one more child, Barnaby.
With a young family to support, Cooney resumed her career in book illustration. She married Charles Talbot Porter, a physician, on July 16, 1949, and the couple had two more children, Charles Talbot Jr. and Phoebe Ann.
By this time, Cooney was illustrating several books a year and even wrote one herself now and then. In fact, it was for her adaptation of Chaucer's The Nun Priest's Tale that she won the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1959.
Cooney was a stickler for details and traveled extensively to support her research. A visit to Mexico was required to study at the art and anthropological museums there. A visit to Finland was in order to meet with artist, writers and folklorists there.
Cooney died on 14 March, 2000 at the age of 83. Her last book was Basket Moon published in September of 1999
In the later part of her career Cooney focused on writing and illustrating more books of her own, and these were equally well--received. Miss Rumphius, for which the author won both the American Book Award and a New York Times citation in 1982, was inspired by the true story of a woman who traveled the world collecting flower seeds and came home at last to make something beautiful. Her most recent books include Hattie and the Wild Waves.
Top Customer Reviews
I would say this would be a wonderful addition to your picture book library, as most Cooney books are!
However, it also has to be one of the most realistic and depressing stories for young readers that has been written. The different characters die, some violently, and the years pass without any uplifting passages.
While realism is to be applauded, reading this book to my four-year old grandson raised more troubling questions and fears than I felt were necessary. I recommend parents and grandparents read "Island Boy" prior to sharing it with children so the adult may determine whether the child, particularly those who may be more sensitive, is ready for the more depressing aspects of the book. It is because of this that I rated "Island Boy" a four-star book.
Anyway, just based on that childhood bedtime hobby, I was bound to love this book. It is one of the very best picture books I've ever read, right up there with "Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp". The maps are lovely, the illustrations are amazing. They are done in the folk art style, and are absolutely beautiful and very detailed.
The prose and illustrations match, somehow- spare, yet rich. Childlike, but very appealing to adults. It's hard to explain, but it's the same kind of magic that a great kids' animated movie has- the kids love it ALMOST as much as the parents.
Part of me wishes it was a novel, so it wouldn't be over so quickly. And part me thinks, "Why mess with perfection?"
In terms that a child can understand, the book captures the transition of the island. The illustrations are lovely telling the story of making food, milking cows, and living on the ocean.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was in very poor condition... written in to another child from their Grandmother, had yellowing on pages and smelled old. None of this was written in the description. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
An American classic by Barbara Cooney. She is just now getting the wide recognition she deserves.
If you love Maine, especially Mid-Coast Maine, you will find it wonderfully... Read more
My favorite illustrator, I can see why she identified so much with this character. Loved it!Published 4 months ago by writegirl36
The condition of this book was as good or better than expected and we were glad to finally own it after checking it out from the library many times!Published on September 13, 2013 by MGQP