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A Quiet Place

"Sometimes a person needs a quiet place." A place that's far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life -- a place that isn't ringing or talking or roaring or playing. But sometimes that place isn't easy to find. Explore what it's like to find a special someplace where we all can think our own thoughts and feel our own feelings.
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Wood (Old Turtle) joins serene settings and dreams of adventure for a vivid romp through a child's imagination. Readers will relate to the ruddy-cheeked, blond city-dweller, who with hands clamped tightly over his ears yearns for respite from "whistles shrieking and grown-ups talking and engines roaring and ... grown-ups talking...." In prose saturated with simile and metaphor, Wood suggests numerous subdued spots for solitude from ponds and deserts to caverns and museums and then interjects the boy's fantasies into the mix. "You could look in the desert, where Old Man Saguaro reaches for the sky, and far-off thunderheads bloom like sky-flowers over the mesas. ... And you can be a Pony Express rider galloping through the Old West." That fantasy can loom larger than life is reflected in the layout of each spread: a small painting of the boy in his quiet place faces a full-page rendering of his daydream. For example, readers glimpse the boy leaving footprints on a beach; opposite, he's a flag-planting conquistador on a sandy shore. Andreasen (The Stars that Shine) laces his realistic oil paintings with a touch of otherworldliness. In muted hues and soft edges, the artist conveys far-ranging settings the boy, who seems at home in a Rockwellian yesteryear, envisions himself also as prehistoric caveman, swashbuckling treasure-finder, spaceman, etc. These scenarios will hold children rapt until the concluding thought perhaps a bit lofty for the very young that people hold within themselves "the very best quiet place of all." Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"In his latest effort, Wood hearkens back to a simpler time to suggest an alternative to the modern child....Solid soul guidance for a media-saturated society." --Kirkus Reviews "The pretty, framed, full-page pictures have an old-fashioned Saturday Evening Post feel to them." --Booklist

Gr 2-4-A boy feels the need for a calm, noise-free spot. He seems to live in a time decades ago if the cars and clothes in an early illustration are representative; however, most of the other full-page oil paintings are flights of fancy. While a variety of escape solutions are presented in text and art, they each seem to have negative aspects to them: the lilac bush is too close to home and "someone calls you to clean your room," the woods are "too dark and deep," the beach is "not your cup of tea," the desert is "a bit too dry," the fish in the pond "aren't biting," the cave could be "too cold and damp," legs are "too tired for climbing" to the top of the hill, "it's too warm for snowdrifts," the museum is closed, and the library isn't open. The final option of finding the quiet within may seem ideal to those who know the way to that place, but most children won't have the map. It seems a shame that all of the rich daydreams are shown to be potentially flawed rather than stops along the way. This is a lovely presentation of a concept that is sure to enchant adults and elude the audience for whom it may have been created.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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