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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Silent Movie Hardcover – March 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689841450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689841453
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 11.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-6-True to its title, this picture book re-creates an old-time silent movie as it unreels a story in which motion pictures play a key part. From its opening credits to the black-and-white framed scenes that spool across the horizontal glossy, black pages, all of the hallmarks of a pre-talkie are here. A bordered "screen" sets the stage by briefly describing immigration to America, individual frames begin to detail a Swedish family's separate 1909 journeys to "The Promised Land," and occasional short titles ("A friend from the Old Country!") punctuate a rags-to-riches melodrama. A missed connection on the New York docks leads to many trials for Mama and young Gustave, including an encounter with a stock mustachioed thief, but they are dramatically reunited with Papa, thanks to Gustave's appearance in a new silent movie that his father happens to see at a nickelodeon. His princely salary assures that "The new American family" will presumably live happily ever after. Just as in the silents, visuals tell the story. Parallel line shadings make creative use of white space to spotlight action within the rectangular frames, which are variously sized to convey action or pauses. The figures are well delineated, with the heavy brows and expressive eyes familiar from the films. The minimal text captures traditional dramatic phrasing, but for children unfamiliar with the conventions of the medium, the occasional abrupt shifts in time and place that occur without explanation may prove confusing, and the fleshing out of character and plot will be missed. A brief author's note provides some historical context, and the book could be helpful in a beginning study of film history or as an entertaining sidelight to immigration studies in addition to individual perusal.
Nancy Palmer, The Little School, Bellevue, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* K-Gr. 3. True to the tender melodrama of the great silent movies, this picture book in black and white tells a happily-ever-after immigrant story from the early twentieth century. Papa sails for America, and then he sends for Mama and Gustave. But they can't find Papa when they arrive, alone in the great city with no English and no money. While begging in the street, they see a friend from the old country, who finds them shelter and a sweatshop job for Mama. But this is American myth, not realism: Gustave becomes a child actor in a movie (So what if he can't speak English? Movies are silent). Papa sees the movie, and the family is united. Clear, beautiful ink-on-clayboard illustrations; white type on thick, glossy black paper; and cinematic lighting effects combine to evoke the historical period as they tell a story about making a movie of the American dream. The soulful, full-page close-ups of the boy alone, wondering, "Was it a mistake to come to America?" will touch children, and the succession of small framed scenes will appeal to comic book fans. Just as strong are the crowd scenes, of the huddled immigrants on the long journey, of the audience watching their story on the screen. Avi and Mordan both cite Chaplin as inspiration, and their book beautifully evokes the melancholy loner in City Lights. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

More info at avi-writer.com and facebook.com/avi.writer
--------------------------------------------------------
Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Avi-writer.com. Follow Avi on Facebook, facebook.com/avi.writer, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heather Macpherson on March 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Avi tells a story depicting immigration using a silent movie as his backdrop. The story is told mostly though the use of pictures. Text is used sparingly to guide the reader through the story, as done in silent movies. Storyboarding and bleeding techniques are used. Small drawings are used to depict time and sequence, while larger, full page drawings are used to convey the character's deeper feelings. Silent Movie is illustrated by C.B. Mordan.
The beauty of this picture book is that the reader can understand the story by looking primarily at the pictures. The front cover depicts a stage, while the back cover has the credits (author, illustrator, and characters). Mordan captures the feelings of the characters in each one of his illustrations, while Avi's text compliments the drawings. The illustrations are done in black and while to convey the feeling of a silent move. Also, many pictures appear to have a spotlight, furthering the silent movie theme. Teachers can use Silent Movie with their students in learning about immigration and the history of films.
An author's note and illustrator's note can be found at the back of the book. Both describe the style used in Silent Movie, in terms of recreating a melodramatic yet simple story, and provide a brief history about silent films. Considering Silent Movie was published in 2003, this may be a contender for the 2004 Caldecott Award and other book awards.
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Format: Hardcover
This picture book takes the form of a "moving picture" book; its content and structure emulating the silent movies that entertained immigrants and other "huddled masses" in the early 20th century.

The story recpaitulates much of the immigrant experience: The yearning for economic freedom, the shipboard travails, and the ghettoized poverty that awaited the new arrivals (this particular family is from Sweden). The family is eventually helped by ghetto dwellers, but especially by a Dickinsian stroke of good luck: The robbery of the young protagonist turns into his "discovery" by a movie director (bald and cryptic, modelled perhaps on Von Stroheim), who turns the boy from extra to $100 a week feature player.

The story, a little like the movie that the family sees at the nickolodean, is melodramtic, abrupt, and somewhat implausible. Right away, the father is separated, but the family doesn't seem to do much to find him. (Of fourse, finding something to eat is takes precedent over reuniting the father.) All kinds of fortuitous events move the sketchy plot along, such as the robbery and subsequent cinematic rise of the boy.

However, the book's major and unique appeal is the visual. Capturing the look of early silent films, the illustrator uses all the trick of the early directors and cinematographers: Extreme close-ups, scene-setting longshots, the skewed perspectives and angularity of the German expressionists, high contrasted silhouettes and splotlighted characters, and melodramatic facial expressions that more than make up for the lack of spoken dialogue. In addition to the story and visual elements, the book design expresses a silent movie theatricality from the opening "credits" to the curtain.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "whiteheadswords" on June 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is interesting. It's not stellar or outstanding, but it is very interesting. I love the idea of mixing silent movies with picture books and coming up with a graphically moving picture. Avi is the only children's author that could have made this book work. The black and white etchings beautifully render the time and feeling of mixing early American film with immigrant culture. The story is short and very superficial, but weren't all the silent movies? This is a fun escape for Avi and one I am sure kids will enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is interesting. It's not stellar or outstanding, but it is very interesting. I love the idea of mixing silent movies with picture books and coming up with a graphically moving picture. Avi is the only children's author that could have made this book work. The black and white etchings beautifully render the time and feeling of mixing early American film with immigrant culture. The story is short and very superficial, but weren't all the silent movies? This is a fun escape for Avi and one I am sure kids will enjoy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Goodman on October 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book Silent Movie by Avi is a great children's picture book. They learn while they are fascinated with the content in the story. The usage of black/white illustrations demonstrates the familiarity to how the first movies were produced.
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