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Thoreau at Walden Hardcover – April 22, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 11 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 6
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; Library Binding edition (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423100387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423100386
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The latest high-quality graphic-format book from folks associated with the Center for Cartoon Studies introduces another significant historical personage, Henry David Thoreau. Although the life and work of the nineteenth-century transcendental philosopher and protoenvironmentalist might seem an odd choice for adaptation into sequential art, Porcellino, alternative comics writer/artist and master of the minicomic, has found a way to translate Thoreau’s thinking into an involving read that exudes lightness and tranquility. Marrying his minimalist line work to Thoreau’s minimalist philosophy, Porcellino manages a striking unity of words and art that works as an effective ode to simplicity. Thoreau’s writings, excerpted out of chronological order, are recast into a narrative that moves from the philosopher’s self-ostracism from society and his time at Walden and into the feeling of calm reverie he took from his experiences. This will be a difficult sell to casual readers, but budding philosophers and readers looking for an unusual work will be delighted. Extensive endnotes include explanations and attributions for the excerpts and a short bibliography. Grades 8-12. --Jesse Karp

About the Author

John Porcellinohas been writing, drawing, and publishing minicomics, comics, and graphic novels for the last twenty-five years. His celebrated series King-Cat Comics, begun in 1989, has inspired a generation of cartoonists.Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man, a collection ofKing-Catstories about Porcellino's experiences as a pest control worker, won an Ignatz Award in 2005.Perfect Example, first published in 2000, chronicles his struggles with depression as a teenager. According to cartoonist Chris Ware, "John Porcellino's comics distill, in just a few lines and words, the feeling of simply being alive."

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Credit The Center for Cartoon Studies with this much; it isn't your everyday average run-of-the-mill comic book variety factory. I mean, any schlub can slap together a bunch of panels, paste in some vague dialogue and facts, and then create enough computer images to declare their product a graphic novel bio of such n' such a figure. It's much harder when you want to do something a little more original with your subject. When The Center produced Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow last year, they didn't make it some rote retelling of facts. Instead they created a story around their subject, placing Satchel at the center of the action rather than the story. I was curious to see how they'd tackle their next project: Henry David Thoreau. The result was not what I'd expected. Simplifying everything down to its most essential components, John Porcellino takes Thoreau's Walden and conveys ideas through the minimum words and images needed to tell his tale. Its success is dependent entirely on the reader's willingness to play along.

Separated into four seasons, the reader follows Henry David Thoreau as he spends time living on his own alongside Walden Pond. Snatches of his writings from the time dot the text, with much of the attention paid to his quieter moments of pause and reflection. Watching an owl in a tree, standing in the rain, or sitting in the middle of a boat in the center of his pond, artist John Porcellino allows us the chance to experience the simple miracles of the everyday through Thoreau's eyes.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. Karasik on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Do not be fooled by the deceptive simplicity of the drawings here, be moved by them.

Everything that you need to know about Thoreau and why he is important, even essential to Americans of any era, is conveyed with clever precision in this slim, handsome volume. Perfect for the beginner...maybe even better for those who want to recall what it was about Thoreau that made him so important the first time we read his work decades ago.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on May 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

"I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle and farming tools...for these are more easily acquired than got rid of."

"Shall we always study to obtain more of these things...and not sometimes to be content with less"

It is a lovely evening in Sebastopol to be reading and contemplating the words of Henry David Thoreau. There have been a few good rainy days over the past couple of weeks. Everything is suddenly sprouting -- even little weed seeds stuck on the sides of stones -- and one can easily recognize the increase in the height of the newly growing grass from a given morning to the same day's late afternoon. My osmanthus bush, at the bottom of the stairs outside, has in the past couple of days exploded in blossoms that once again send out the sweet, fragrant apricot scent that I fell in love with during that fall, long ago, when I first arrived here in Sebastopol.

It is a warm evening tonight and, with the windows open, the din of birds, bugs and frogs that lay mute just a few weeks ago in the dryness of late summer is providing a rich soundtrack of Mother Nature's fertile stirrings, a symphony of night music to accompany my reading of this inspiring little graphic novel.

THOREAU AT WALDEN succeeds quite beautifully in introducing readers to pearls of Henry David Thoreau through the incorporation of manageable passages of his writings into the graphic format.

"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad...and if I repent of one thing, it is likely to be my good behavior."

"I hear an irresistible voice..which invites me away from all that.
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