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A White Heron

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1115414128
ISBN-10: 1115414127
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Editorial Reviews

Review

One hundred and five years ago, in the first edition of A Wbite Heron, writer Sarah Orne Jewett posed some tough questions for the youngsters reading her book: What is an individual's responsibility to nature? Does our desire to understand the world give us the right to dominate plant and animal life? Should human relationships take precedence over relationships with other species? Is there any way for humans to co-exist with nature, or must we trample, dissect, or attempt to control it? Prescient questions, these, making the new Tilbury House edition of A Wbite Heron a moving, intelligent and necessary book. Beautifully illustrated, this children's story (for readers 9 and up) is about Sylvia, a child reared by her grandmother to spare her from the hustle-and-bustle of late 19th-century urban, industrial life. A friend to birds and animals, it is only when she is befriended by a young male ornithologist that Sylvia comes headon with conflicts over value systems and loyalties. The resolution of this dilemma is skillfully wrought, revealing the complexity of the decision making-process and the ethical conundrum that will save, or destroy, the earth. Oldfashioned and charming, it is a valuable book, guaranteed to spark discussion and lively debate. -- From Independent Publisher --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 274 pages
  • Publisher: BCR (Bibliographical Center for Research) (October 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1115414127
  • ISBN-13: 978-1115414128
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.6 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,407,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By axeeugene on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've taught Jewett's story for years and find it to be a terrific introduction to the heroic journey motif in literature. Watching little Sylvia ("child of the forest") choose to defend the mystery of nature against her own human interests is a rewarding reading experience that can open many opportunities for discussion. A conversation on the relationship between humanity and nature is one any age group can benefit from.

That being said, I'm not sure the story is really appropriate for young children, and so the attempt to cast it in children's storybook form seems unwise. Though the line drawings have a certain grace to them, they don't actually add much value to the tale. This may be because Jewett's story may not lend itself to portrayal in images, or it may be a failing of the art--though beautiful, the line drawings seem to lack the vitality of the text. This has the unfortunate effect of rendering the story boring, which by itself it certainly is not. Thus, I think small children might be unimpressed.

Also, the depiction of Sylvia seems off. She's nine, but the girl portrayed in the pictures seems far older...12-13, perhaps. This might be quibbling, but to my mind it alters a key element of the tale. Sylvia's youth makes her sacrifice all the more heroically heartbreaking.

I bought this as a gift for a Sylvia I know--the daughter of friends--on her first birthday. I view it as a sort of heirloom book--one that Sylvia will return to over the years. In this context, I think the book will work very well. But I don't think it is the most ideal presentation of the affecting story if children encounter it only a few times.

It's certainly a very nicely assembled text.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this short story in a college literature class as a freshman and fell in love with the story. Years later (today) I was killing time in the library and decide to take a gander at the children's section. After a few minutes of browsing and not seeing anything very intriguing, a blue book caught my eye and excitement grew in me when I read the title: A White Heron. I instantly grabbed it and read it right there. The story was as I remembered it, but I had never seen it accompanied by illustrations before. The illustrations brought so much more to the story and I wish I had a copy of it for my own. I know if I ever do buy A White Heron it will be with Cooney's illustrations.
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By Scott Ziemba on February 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything was great!
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