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Turn! Turn! Turn! (Book and CD) Hardcover – September 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; Book and CD-ROM edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689852355
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689852350
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-This rich and thoughtful book uses beautifully detailed artwork to bring new life to a familiar song. On the first page, the verse is printed on an illustration of the Earth with the repeated word "Turn!" encircling it. The focus of each of the following spreads is a large circle filled with small pictures. The verses are set along the edges, with contrasting ideas on either side ("a time to be born" on the left, "a time to die" on the right). Done in watercolor and ink, each of the round illustrations creates a cohesive whole, while its many sections tell small stories and reveal truths. The gutter divides each wheel in two, delineating between the opposing ideas of the verses. The tiny, detailed drawings fan out in all directions, forcing readers to turn the book around to view them. Some spreads are more dramatic than others: "a time of war" is illustrated with stark reds and grays, jagged lines, and images of sad children behind barbed wire and warriors in action. The illustration for "a time of peace" has rounded lines and brighter colors, and shows youngsters of all races holding hands and people enjoying quiet moments. Many details will beg for discussion, like the image of a hooded figure throwing stones at two retreating individuals. Accompanied by a CD with versions of the song by Seeger and the Byrds, this is a book for all collections.
Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

K- Gr. 3. The words come from Ecclesiastes, the music from Pete Seeger, and Halperin provides distinctive artwork that truly fits the text. Halperin emphasizes the universality of the words in the book's design: a circle takes up most of each two-page spread; inside the circle are pictures of various shapes and sizes that illustrate the phrase printed on the side of the page. "A time to be born," in a half circle on the left, includes insets picturing an Asian mother playing with her baby; a father throwing his diapered son in the air; and, in a tiny square, a chick popping out of an egg. Some of the sentiments were more challenging to illustrate. "A time of hate," for instance, shows a child's foot kicking a dog, a swastika, and a mob. More inexplicably, there is also a picture of a bemused child with a gun and another showing two bucks locking horns, neither of which exactly says "hatred." Still, as kids inevitably turn the book around to see the art, they will find a lot to make them think. A CD of Seeger's song is enclosed. For another very different version of the text, pull out To Everything There Is a Season (1999), illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I first heard about the picture book, "Turn! Turn! Turn!" back in 2003 when I joined a mighty small and unofficial gathering of St. Paul/Minneapolis children's book enthusiasts for a mock Caldecott discussion. We were going to decide which books were most worthy of the Caldecott that year (though the obvious winner, "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" swept it). One of those potential winners was a fairly interesting adaptation of what I had only ever known to be a Byrds song. Though credited in large part to Pete Seeger, no stranger to picture books himself, the words are originally from Ecclesiastes. Mr. Seeger gave them to a tune in 1961 and from there the Byrds turned it into a hit. Now it's a book for kids. In my experience, making a kid's book out of a 1960's song is usually a dangerous practice. Take a gander at, "At the Zoo" by Paul Simon if you don't believe me. In this particular case, illustrator Wendy Anderson Halperin has given the design of the book an original feel. The result is a book that works far more often than it falls flat.

You know the words, right? So sing along! "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven". The original verses speak of "a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away", so this adaptation does the same. The book begins with an open door leading to a grassy place. Turn the page and you see a large circle, one half on each page with the circle's center falling into the center gutter. On the left page is a verse like, "a time to be born". Here we see all sorts of images that illustrate this concept. On the right hand side are the words, "a time to die". Ditto, death is shown in a variety of different ways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CB on November 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This beautiful book is based on the Byrds song written by Pete Seeger which is based on Ecclesiastes 3. The illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin are wonderful. They are highly Westernized (or perhaps "New Yorkized" since there are apples in so many pictures). They show multiple images of life which give examples of the events named in Ecclesiastes 3 (e.g. born, die, cast away stones, gather stones). The book even includes an audio CD with performances of the song by the Byrds, and also by Pete Seeger (also lives in New York).

Ecclesiastes uses three Hebrew words for "turn" for a total of sixteen occurrences. Qoheleth (the author) usually uses it in the sense, "I turned to consider..." (e.g. 2:11). He turns to consider life sixteen times until it seems he is spinning as much as the wind as it blows around its endless cycles (1:6). "Turn" is a very important word in Ecclesiastes. I don't know if Pete Seeger knew that when he wrote this song. Maybe Seeger was thinking of the seasons returning and turning from one activity to another. Halperin catches this idea beautifully by means of many circles.

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Katherine E. Mathis on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Now that I have a two year old I can excuse myself for buying an illustrated book by saying it's for him, when in truth I want it.

That said, he was looking at all the detailed pictures with me, and has already been asking for "Turn, Turn!" as one of his songs. So something hit the right note with my son.

Personally, I was drawn to the appropriateness of the mandala-style illustrations to the text. (I laughed a little at the fact that a Seeger-type character appears in most of the illustrations.) The more I look at the book, the more I like it - for example, on the page that says "A time to plant, a time to reap," you see a panel with a man teaching a child to play guitar on the plant side, and on the reap side, an elderly man playing the guitar. Lots of things in the pictures to think about, and the sheet music in the back was a lovely surprise.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By a reader on December 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book's text is the famous song based on the verses from Ecclesiastes. The illustrations are full of interesting things to explore in repeated readings. There is a page at the end of the book that tells Seeger's story of how he wrote the song and how it was first recorded. The compact disc is a delight--it has Seeger's very simple, self-accompanied banjo rendition performed in concert, followed by the Byrd's rock rendition. I bought this for our Lutheran church library and I know the kids will enjoy it. My husband, a Jewish baby-boomer also got a big kick out of the compact disc. Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By home at the library on September 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have purchased multiple copies of this book. I share them as gifts for those close to me who are making transitions in their lives. The message speaks to my heart.
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