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The Scarecrow's Dance Hardcover – August 25, 2009
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.