Eleven Nature Tales: A Multicultural Journey

Pleasant DeSpain, Author, Joe Shlichta, Illustrator
Pleasant DeSpain, Author, Joe Shlichta, Illustrator August House Publishers $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87483-447-5
Paperback - 96 pages - 978-0-87483-458-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-19257-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-88808-0
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Not even an alchemist can conjure gold from a played-out vein. In this sequel to Listening for the Crack of Dawn (which won the Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award), Davis serves up a monotonous hodgepodge of 11 vignettes detailing the mundane coming-of-age of a naive middle-class boy in 1950s Appalachia. An opening anecdote called ""The Place"" serves fair warning of the slow going to come. A homespun tour of Sulpher Springs, N.C., it shuffles past the slaughterhouse, the tannery, the train depot, the post office, the radio station, the drug store, the shoe store and Ladye Faire beauty parlor--all seen through the wondering eyes of an intrepid preschool male narrator. With an affable retrospective omniscience, the narrator covers his kindergarten days, his daddy's bank, an ill-fated birthday party, his tonsillectomy, unrequited prepubertal love, unwashed teenage sexual rites and, at last, his departure for bigtime college. Davis proves something worth remembering about folksy style. Folksy don't cut it alone; it's gotta have style to fly. This collection of typeset Norman Rockwelliana is one step removed even from genuine nostalgia, which at least aims to idealize life. This stuff idealizes a way of looking at life: it's nostalgic for nostalgia. Simultaneous audio. (May) FYI: For his audiocassettes, Davis has received the American Library Association Notable Children's Recording award.
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