Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds

Cynthia Rylant, Author, Barry Moser, Illustrator
Cynthia Rylant, Author, Barry Moser, Illustrator Harcourt Children's Books $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-15-201605-0
Reviewed on: 04/15/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-15-201893-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-13146-9
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7807-8786-5
Prebound-Glued - 32 pages - 978-0-613-10494-4
Paperback - 24 pages - 978-0-590-51258-9
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Like a cherished photograph album, this portrait of Appalachia by two natives of the region is suffused with memories made golden by time. Beginning with the dogs that are ``named Prince or King'' and live in towns ``with names like Coal City and Sally's Backbone,'' Rylant moves to the people, their houses and their activities. Neither story nor factual treatise, the text offers pure nostalgia--a skillfully structured essay that appears, deceptively, to meander like a dusty country lane and underscores the warmth, generosity of spirit and steadfastness of the inhabitants of the ``shimmering painted mountains.'' Rylant is frequently effusive: ``The men and women and children who live in Appalachia have no sourness about them,'' she says; and ``The children love all the seasons.'' But when she focuses on particular details, lyricism suffuses her prose: the ``mountains wear heavy shawls of fog, and giant moths flap at the porch lights while cars cut through the dark hollows like burrowing moles.'' Moser's masterfully executed paintings--from the stretching coon dog to the biscuits that wait on the iron stove--find beauty in plainness, capturing the culture and people of the hollows with affection and sensitivity. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)
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