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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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Island Boy (Picture Puffins) Paperback – June 1, 1991

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Praising Cooney's "wide, sweeping seascapes that contrast with the velvety, close-up interiors," PW added that the book "is an ode to simple acts of daily living. Not only one family's tale, this is also a cherishable glimpse of a bygone time." Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3 Cooney's ongoing fascination with family ties and elder/younger relationships and her keen awareness of the interdependence of all people and their living styles are newly expressed in Island Boy. She steers her lyrical, lengthy illustrated story with confidence through four generations on a New England coastal island. Pa, Ma, and their 12 children settle the island. When he's ready, young Matthais sails with his uncle's schooner, first as cabin boy and 15 years later, as master. Finally acting on the pull of island memories, Matthais returns and soon marries Hannah, a schoolmistress from Boston. Matthais stays on Tibbetts Island after their three girls grow up and leave, and after Hannah's death. One year, his daughter Annie and her son join Matthais, until Matthais' accidental death. The text is occasionally poetic, with satisfyingly repetitive references to the astrakhan tree and the wild bird, for example, which underscore the book's continuity. Cooney's palette ranges from the clear greens and blues of the island and the water to the browns she employs effectively for domestic interiors and city street scenes. Her humans have individual characteristics. An endpaper map and a well-designed title page introduce this resolutely beautiful account of the interconnectedness of generations and lifestyles. Cooney's flawless transitions between the generations and between third-person points of view always maintain a child's perspective. Island Boy is certain to be a favorite for family sharing, as well as a must for school and public libraries. Teachers will love it; buy extra copies. Ginny Moore Kruse, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: AD660L (What's this?)
  • Series: Picture Puffins
  • Paperback: 38 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140507566
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140507560
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Through the eyes of Matthias we watch the times change from a bucolic country life by the sea to a vacation haven for the rich and wealthy mainlanders. But throughout Matthias and his family strive to keep the island beautiful and respect the old ways passing them on from one generation to the next. The pastoral illustrations convey the warmth of this possibly best of Barbara Cooney's tales. Boys will especially like it, although my daughters loved it, too.
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Format: Paperback
Barbara Cooney's "Island Boy" is one of the most beautifully illustrated children's stories I have seen. It follows the life of a young boy from childhood through his elder years and finally to his death. It portrays life during the early history of this country and portrays both the hardships and the challenges faced by early settlers.

However, it also has to be one of the most realistic and depressing stories for young readers that has been written. The different characters die, some violently, and the years pass without any uplifting passages.

While realism is to be applauded, reading this book to my four-year old grandson raised more troubling questions and fears than I felt were necessary. I recommend parents and grandparents read "Island Boy" prior to sharing it with children so the adult may determine whether the child, particularly those who may be more sensitive, is ready for the more depressing aspects of the book. It is because of this that I rated "Island Boy" a four-star book.
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Format: Paperback
Having grown up in the exact area this book is written about, I can say with certainly that the pictures are so realistic and gorgeous they made me cry. They capture exactly the houses, fields, seas and trees of the mid-coast Maine region. The story is wonderful also. I love children's book that cover a whole life as this one does---we follow the main character from his babyhood until his death, and see how his life closely connected to the sea and the land affects so many around him. In doing so, we see a little Maine history presented---the age of the sea captain and the age of the "rusticators" buying up the beautiful land and sometimes reducing the natives to working for them, but NEVER being servants to them. The maps on the endpages fascinated my older son. They are of I think a slightly fantasy Maine, with some places being real places and others renamed, and he loved trying to see what was really what, as he knows the area to some extent.

I would say this would be a wonderful addition to your picture book library, as most Cooney books are!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An American classic by Barbara Cooney. She is just now getting the wide recognition she deserves.
If you love Maine, especially Mid-Coast Maine, you will find it wonderfully familiar..
This should be in every little boy's library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It might seem dated to some folks, but there is nothing dated or old about having family, loving your family, learning and loving and appreciating where you live. Not only a good read but a solid foundational story. The illustrations are beautiful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Island Boy was a book that my parents read to me when I was a child. I purchased it as a gift for family friends who have young children. The story is classic, touching on family dynamics, growing up, seeing the world but staying in touch with your roots. Even in a children's book you feel the attachment to the characters and the illustrations have always been a favorite of mine. I would recommend this book to anybody I know.
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Format: Paperback
Let me get this out of the way: As a kid, before I fell asleep at night, I would make up stories about a family who lived on a farming island off the coast of Maine and had twelve children, six boys and six girls. (The major difference between this book and my story was that my narrator was the middle girl, named Inga, and had braided blond pigtails.)

Anyway, just based on that childhood bedtime hobby, I was bound to love this book. It is one of the very best picture books I've ever read, right up there with "Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp". The maps are lovely, the illustrations are amazing. They are done in the folk art style, and are absolutely beautiful and very detailed.

The prose and illustrations match, somehow- spare, yet rich. Childlike, but very appealing to adults. It's hard to explain, but it's the same kind of magic that a great kids' animated movie has- the kids love it ALMOST as much as the parents.

Part of me wishes it was a novel, so it wouldn't be over so quickly. And part me thinks, "Why mess with perfection?"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed reading this book to children for years (I'm a teacher). My two sons, ages 9 and 6, still request that I read it to them when we read aloud to each other. The story is a classic tale of the cycles of life, and how you really CAN go home again. I always cry at the end. I recommend it for ages 3 and up. Get ready to answer some weighty kid questions.
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