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The Calico Jungle Hardcover – January 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 42 pages
  • Publisher: Islandport Press (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934031313
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934031315
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #861,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dahlov Ipcar was born in Vermont, raised in Greenwich Village, and summered in Maine after her parents (the famed sculptor William Zorach and artist Marguerite Zorach) bought a farm on Georgetown Island in 1923. Thirteen years later, eighteen-year-old Dahlov, an aspiring artist, married Adoph Ipcar. The young couple left New York City in 1937 to live on the Maine farm where they first met.

By the early 1940s, Ipcar had nearly given up thoughts of writing and illustrating books, but was contacted by a New York publisher to illustrate The Little Fisherman, the latest title by Margaret Wise Brown. The struggling young artist jumped at the chance, and this charming title helped launch a four decade run that saw her write and illustrate more than thirty children's books of her own.

In the milestone book, The Calico Jungle, first published in 1965, Dahlov was feeling the urge to express herself in a new way. The book's illustrations marked a dramatic change in style as she began to explore "the endless possibilities of patterns. It had a terrific influence on my fine art," she says. "It inspired me to change my whole style." The Calico Jungle is a shining example of Dahlov's exploration into the juxtaposition of shapes, colors, patterns, and light that have become the hallmark of her later work.

Today, Ipcar's intricate, distinctive, and fanciful artwork is known worldwide, with pieces of her work in the collections of numerous renowned museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Meanwhile, Ipcar still lives and paints in the 1860s farmhouse that she shared with Adolph for nearly seventy years. She once said she didn't want celebrity or fame; she just "wanted to be recognized." In retrospect, a fairly modest statement for a Maine – and American – treasure.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amy Henry TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It's a story that is illustrated with quilt prints in retro colors making up the body of the animals, as well as vines and flowers. My son has enjoyed it several ways. First, the storyline, and then it became an "I Spy" sort of activity as he looked for the different animals that are hidden throughout, ordinary animals in a calico print. The colors are not typical children's book colors: instead of primary or pastels, the colors have a milk-paint opaque look that feels vintage. According to a representative of Islandport, Ipcar actually has a quilt in her home that she used for inspiration, and at one point she envisioned the book being cloth.

The story itself is of boy who is given a quilt lovingly made by his mother, covered with animals. That night he is transported into dreams of all the animals and their adventures. It occurred to me that if my son was younger these pages would have looked gorgeous framed and as part of a nursery theme. Dahlov Ipcar's illustrations are never cutesy or sacharine sweet-they are just simple and clear. And how is it that the face of a calico camel can show emotion? I'm not sure how she does it, but we love this book. And as always with Islandport Press, the book's pages are heavy and bound beautifully-a book I can easily see saving as an heirloom. In terms of age-appropriateness, my three-year-old easily enjoys the story and is likely to continue to enjoy it when he learns to read, so I think it would be fair to say it could go from a lap reader to a school-age child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cara Hayes on December 23, 2009
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I'm biased, and a fan of Dahlov Ipcar. She did a wonderful job of this children's book. There are lots of animals featured and a clear tale of the quilt, that a caring parent made for a child.
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By Thomasina on July 5, 2007
Format: Library Binding
This is a lovely tale of a calico quilt lovingly sewn for a little boy by his mother.

"It was a beautiful quilt, all covered with jungle trees and flowers and animals," writes Ipcar. The boy lies in bed at night and looks at all the animals and trees in his quilt. It's such an intricate quilt that he often has to look very carefully to see all that's there, hiding: coiling snakes, zebras, tall giraffes eating leaves among the treetops, calico birds. Some are easy to see: a white unicorn and a black rhinoceros, "each with one long horn." There's a deep pool with elephants taking baths and darting fish of bright colors, right in the center of the quilt. All the animals gather at the pool for water. Deep in the jungle are the wild cats--sleeping lions, tigers, jungle cats. The boy falls asleep and dreams he's walking through the calico jungle.

Vivid colors, patterns, amazing calico designs make these illustrations some of the nicest I've seen. The story makes a wonderful, fascinating yet still calming bedtime story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I already had this book, but it was very old -- it was discarded from our school library. I wanted a fresh, new copy of it. The illustrations are incredible!
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Format: Library Binding
This classic tale is a wonderful bed time book that makes your little one want to snuggle close with you on an adventure that ends when the little boy falls asleep. Highly recommended from mother of two.
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