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Our Colonial Year Hardcover – December 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–In short, free-verse compositions, Harness takes readers not just month by month through a year, but also through the 13 colonies (there is an additional spread for New Year's). Each of the simple but pithy poems is set in a different locale and focuses on children's chores and pastimes. Youngsters are depicted doing typical activities of the day, such as stitching samplers, carding wool, collecting maple sap, and playing marbles. The upcoming revolution is not mentioned until the last two lines (The colonial year is fast away./And tomorrow is an American day), but suggestions of what is to come are cleverly woven into the illustrations. For example, the entry for July features a woman in a red-and-white striped dress reading a newspaper with the headline Unite or Die standing next to a child wearing a white bonnet with blue stars. The historically accurate pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures have been carefully composed. They have a folk-art quality and feature calico prints on almost every surface, including fields, apple trees, and the flames in a fireplace, as well as the different colonies on the appended map. This book is a treat for the eye and an excellent introduction to this period in American history.–Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 1-3. This unusual book introduces the 13 colonies through a series of double-page spreads, each showing one colony during a particular month of the year (plus one for New Year's Day). For example, on the left-hand page of the August spread are four lines of bland text: "Girls lead cows from the meadow / into the barn at twilight. / They sing softly as they milk and churn / in the summer mornings." On the facing page, a painting shows two African American girls, one milking a cow and the other churning, while cats and chickens mill about. In the illustrations, nearly everything, from cow to tree to wheat sheaf, is overlaid with a different pattern reminiscent of printed wallpaper or cloth. Close up, this profusion of pattern is disconcerting, and the effect is decidedly more reminiscent of nursery rhymes than history. From a distance, though, the patterns add a certain richness and originality to the scenes, some of which are quite handsome. By presenting the months in colonial settings, the book provides a calendar of teaching opportunities for the primary grades. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
Each of the 13 colonies is portrayed and each illustration is more beautiful than the one before. This book will be a collector's item in your household!