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Island Boy (Picture Puffins) Paperback

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Island Boy (Picture Puffins) + Miss Rumphius + Roxaboxen
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140507566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140507560
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 9.8 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Praising Cooney's "wide, sweeping seascapes that contrast with the velvety, close-up interiors," PW added that the book "is an ode to simple acts of daily living. Not only one family's tale, this is also a cherishable glimpse of a bygone time." Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3 Cooney's ongoing fascination with family ties and elder/younger relationships and her keen awareness of the interdependence of all people and their living styles are newly expressed in Island Boy. She steers her lyrical, lengthy illustrated story with confidence through four generations on a New England coastal island. Pa, Ma, and their 12 children settle the island. When he's ready, young Matthais sails with his uncle's schooner, first as cabin boy and 15 years later, as master. Finally acting on the pull of island memories, Matthais returns and soon marries Hannah, a schoolmistress from Boston. Matthais stays on Tibbetts Island after their three girls grow up and leave, and after Hannah's death. One year, his daughter Annie and her son join Matthais, until Matthais' accidental death. The text is occasionally poetic, with satisfyingly repetitive references to the astrakhan tree and the wild bird, for example, which underscore the book's continuity. Cooney's palette ranges from the clear greens and blues of the island and the water to the browns she employs effectively for domestic interiors and city street scenes. Her humans have individual characteristics. An endpaper map and a well-designed title page introduce this resolutely beautiful account of the interconnectedness of generations and lifestyles. Cooney's flawless transitions between the generations and between third-person points of view always maintain a child's perspective. Island Boy is certain to be a favorite for family sharing, as well as a must for school and public libraries. Teachers will love it; buy extra copies. Ginny Moore Kruse, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Barbara Cooney and her twin brother were born on August 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York to Russell Schenck Cooney and Mae Evelyn Bossert. Because her father was a stockbroker, her family lived in suburbia, which Barbara disliked.
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.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Through the eyes of Matthias we watch the times change from a bucolic country life by the sea to a vacation haven for the rich and wealthy mainlanders. But throughout Matthias and his family strive to keep the island beautiful and respect the old ways passing them on from one generation to the next. The pastoral illustrations convey the warmth of this possibly best of Barbara Cooney's tales. Boys will especially like it, although my daughters loved it, too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara VINE VOICE on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the exact area this book is written about, I can say with certainly that the pictures are so realistic and gorgeous they made me cry. They capture exactly the houses, fields, seas and trees of the mid-coast Maine region. The story is wonderful also. I love children's book that cover a whole life as this one does---we follow the main character from his babyhood until his death, and see how his life closely connected to the sea and the land affects so many around him. In doing so, we see a little Maine history presented---the age of the sea captain and the age of the "rusticators" buying up the beautiful land and sometimes reducing the natives to working for them, but NEVER being servants to them. The maps on the endpages fascinated my older son. They are of I think a slightly fantasy Maine, with some places being real places and others renamed, and he loved trying to see what was really what, as he knows the area to some extent.

I would say this would be a wonderful addition to your picture book library, as most Cooney books are!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By delicateflower152 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
Barbara Cooney's "Island Boy" is one of the most beautifully illustrated children's stories I have seen. It follows the life of a young boy from childhood through his elder years and finally to his death. It portrays life during the early history of this country and portrays both the hardships and the challenges faced by early settlers.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leta on August 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
Let me get this out of the way: As a kid, before I fell asleep at night, I would make up stories about a family who lived on a farming island off the coast of Maine and had twelve children, six boys and six girls. (The major difference between this book and my story was that my narrator was the middle girl, named Inga, and had braided blond pigtails.)

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?"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By embegee on September 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have enjoyed reading this book to children for years (I'm a teacher). My two sons, ages 9 and 6, still request that I read it to them when we read aloud to each other. The story is a classic tale of the cycles of life, and how you really CAN go home again. I always cry at the end. I recommend it for ages 3 and up. Get ready to answer some weighty kid questions.
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