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Old, Old Man and the Very Little Boy, The Hardcover – October 31, 1992


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 27 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum; 1st ed edition (October 31, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689317352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689317354
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,349,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this promising debut for author and artist, an African boy loves to listen to the village elder's stories, but cannot comprehend his talk of the very little boy who still lives within the old man. When enough seasons pass, however, the boy, long grown, begins to speak of the inner youthfulness that now underlies his own old age. Franklin summons evocative images to chronicle the links between the generations and the bittersweet passage of time. The old man's face is as brown and wrinkled as the deep garden soil and his toes spread like stubby fingers from decades of walking barefoot, as around and around the seasons danced. With its impressive dignity, this prose suggests the fullness of experience that is possible with a strong conneetion to both past and future, and a gracious acceptance of one's changing place within them. Shaffer's lustrous oils give rich life to this affecting vignette-by focusing on her characters rather than on their surroundings, her spare yet precise earth-toned portraits allow the story's emotionality to emerge. Ages 4-6.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-4-- Here is a picture book that has a colorful, polished appearance, with handsome scenes of an African village, and that tells a story intended to help develop sympathy for the elderly. When an old man confides to a child that inside of him ``lives a very little boy,'' the youngster laughs in disbelief. The man dies and is forgotten. The boy grows up and leads a successful life; as he ages he tells the same stories and warns that, ``Tomorrow you will be old men just like me.'' An understanding of the passage of time is not something that is natural to children. Unfortunately, this tale inspires no emotional response in a rapidly aging reviewer either. There is no idiosyncracy to bring the nameless men to life; both are passive, on the fringes of village life, and are described as telling the same tales over and over. The single silver tear trickling down wrinkled cheeks inspires pity rather than sympathy. Most of the full-page illustrations in opaque watercolors also convey a sense of distance. The figures are often alone on the page, with their faces averted. The illustrator has a nice sense of color and composition, but her backgrounds only heighten the sense of the characters' isolation. There are several delightful images of young children, but in general the people do not seem interested in one another. Patricia Polacco's Mrs. Katz and Tush (Bantam, 1992) addresses the aging process and features unforgettable members of the older generation. --Marilyn Iarusso, New York Pub . Lib .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Sue Justus on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book illustrates perfectly the circle of life. I have read this book aloud to children for many years, and children are astounded to see the very little boy grow into an old, old, man. If I could keep only 10 children's books, this would be one of them!
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Format: Hardcover
We thought this book depicted the culture very well, and the pictures in the book were very colorful. The book also had very good sensory details in the reading. We think that this book could be very depressing for a child. It makes them aware that they too will get old and die one day. It may also be good because it does let children know what happens when you get old. This depicts something that happens across all cultures of people. The people in their culture take care of themselves. The little boy is a leader and a follower. He listens to the old man at the begining and then he grows and goes out and gets food for them to eat. At the end he is sharing his own stories with the little children as he once listened to an old man. This book could be used to teach children about respecting their elders.
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