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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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The Scarecrow's Dance Hardcover – August 25, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Despite the pairing of formidable talents, this book will likely have a limited audience. The purposeful plot is driven by its message: a scarecrow that experiences the freedom of a wind-blown night decides to return to his post (literally) after witnessing the farm boy on his knees, praying for the straw man's success in guarding the crops. There is little action, except for the protagonist breezing along past a dimly lit tractor, weathered barn, and cows at rest. Each of Ibatoulline's gouache and watercolor scenes is technically brilliant and atmospheric, but there is a disconnect with the sequencing and passage of time. Opening pages depict the corn silhouetted against a sky that is pink at the horizon and hazy blue on the upper borders of the spreads (twilight?). Subsequent spreads are a mixture of deeper blues, then a return to pink light, a misty gray, rose again, and finally almost turquoise; the effect is disconcerting. The sentimentality climaxes when the scarecrow peers through the darkness into the boy's bedroom, which is drenched in an orange glow. Yolen's unremarkable poetry reads: The scarecrow heard/With painted ears,/And wept a pail/Of painted tears. Adults may find this story of faith and duty uplifting, but kids will prefer the nocturnal farm adventures found in Bill Martin and John Archambault's Barn Dance! (Holt, 1986).–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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About the Author

Jane Yolen has written more than 250 books, including How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? She has won the Christopher Medal and the Golden Kite Award, among other honors. She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. Bagram Ibatoulline has illustrated The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and a number of other picture books. Born in Russia, he now lives in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD1000L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416937706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416937708
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The moon was high over the fields while the lonesome scarecrow continued his solitary watch over the now mature corn. It was autumn and the gentle winds of the summer began to cool and whip through the fields, tearing at his shirt and blowing parts of it across the darkened field. He began to dance in the wind, flung this way and that. Even his straw leg whipped up and reached to the sky when a burst of cold wind hit him. Whish! Whish! He "left his place" in the field and ran down a corn row as a Prairie Dog watched in amazement.

"He jogged a row
And trotted back
Along the cornfield's
Dirt-piled track,

While high above
His painted Head,
The crazed and cawing
Black crows fled."

The scarecrow danced and swayed through the farm past the tractor, past the Holsteins, the barn and the two sleeping pigs. He skittered by the old horse drawn hay mower sidled against the barn and came into view of the farm house. He peered into the window and saw a little boy on his knees praying. "Please . . . " The scarecrow listened carefully and suddenly a single tear began to fall down his cheek. What did the little boy pray for that could make an old weathered scarecrow weep?

I was utterly impressed with the quality of this book. I loved the autumn theme and the message that everything and everyone has a special purpose in life, including the lowly scarecrow. The art work uses a darkened pallette, keeping with the fall equinox when the days become shorter and everything appears to be much darker in the countryside. The rural parent and child may be able to appreciate the country theme more as the scenery is familiar. I just loved this story of the lowly scarecrow, the heart and soul of the farm!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Length: 3:00 Mins
Beautifully illustrated, a unique story, with some word choices I wouldn't have picked (for the younger kids it is recommended for). But still, a nice book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Jane Yolen deserves praise for offering a distinctive view of the iconic scarecrow. Her picture book attempts to fuse magic and faith, silliness and somberness. The results are uneven; the poem's tone is often gloomy and foreboding; awkward words interrupt the rhythm of rhymed couplets. For example, Yolen chose "forlorn" and "singularity" to complete rhymes but children would more easily understand "sad" and "miracle".

He danced past tractor
In the field.
Sill waiting to
Bring in the yield.

Past cows who lay down
In the grass
And watced him
As he, silent, passed.

He danced by barn
As red as blood
And two pigs sleeping
In the mud.

The "red as blood" description bothered my sons (ages 6 and 5). They asked me if that meant someone was hurt.
While the poem suffers from jagged rhymes and tone, the illustrations are outstanding. Bagram Ibatoulline captures twilight's soft colors, the breezy look of an evening wind rushing through the corn fields and a soft, cheerful scarecrow.

In summary, The Scarecrow's Dance deserves three stars, crediting its unique storyline while the illustrations deserve no less than five stars. Together, the picture book earns four stars for a net score of four stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a beautiful book this is! Jane Yolen tells a beautiful story of a scarecrow who wants to be free, until he discovers how important he is as a scarecrow. There's a moral here: when you want to find who you really are, look at the relationships in your life. But the special appeal of this book for me is Bagram Ibatoulline's gorgeous illustrations, somewhat in the tradition of Maxfield Parrish but with an emotional power all their own. The text is simple but telling verse. Together text and pictures are rhapsodic. If you value really beautiful picture books, don't let this one get away from you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This very short story, beautifully illustrated tale about a scarecrow who accidentally wins his freedom from guarding corn but ultimately returns to his post (no pun intended). As promoted, it is correctly geared towards very young children to reinforce the concept about being true to a promise.

What I did not read in the reviews of this book before I bought it (perhaps I didn't read back far enough!) was that the theme of book is based on religion. Not a problem for many folks, but I was surprised at the religious angle introduced at the end. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Because of this I gave it three stars. While the book is nicely done and I will be giving it to my young nephew, I feel that other parents with other views may be unpleasantly surprised when they reach the end of the book.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a beautiful book. The binding is superb. The illustrations are superb. The story, in rhyme, is a wonderful "Morality Play" in the medieval sense.

A scarecrow, freed from his post by the wind and enjoying his new freedom, overhears a boy praying that, among other things-

"And bless tonight
Our old scarecrow
Who guards the fields
And each corn row
So that tomorrow,
When we reap,
There will be lots
Of corn to keep."

Realizing that he has an important job that he alone can do, he returns to the field and his pole.

There's plenty to teach in this book. Most important is a sense of duty and responsibility, both underemphasized in our "gimme it and gimme it now" culture. Furthermore, there are enough words unfamiliar to a young child (among them forlorn, tolled, jogged, cawing- the list goes on) that there's an opportunity to expand that child's understanding and vocabulary while reading this beautiful story.

If there were more than 5 stars to rate this book I'd rate it higher. It's a winner!
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