The Fo'c'sle: Henry Beston's "Outermost House"

Nan Parson Rossiter, Author
Nan Parson Rossiter. Godine, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56792-433-6
Reviewed on: 06/11/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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Rossiter (Sugar on Snow) offers an evocative account of writer Henry Beston's year living in a tiny house on the dunes of Cape Cod, which inspired his 1928 book The Outer­most House. As the year progressed, Beston documented the wildlife he observed, received midwinter visits from "surfmen" who patrolled the beach, and explored his surroundings. Excerpts from Beston's writing are incorporated into Rossiter's prose passages and inset panels that appear against her gorgeous, sweeping panoramas ("The ocean thunders, pale wisps and windy tatters of wintry cloud sail over the dunes, and the sandpipers stand on one leg and dream"). Painted in a coastal palette of pale blues, tans, and pinks, four spreads show the same view during different seasons, with Beston's house tucked away in a corner, all the better to demonstrate the changes in landscape. At times, Rossiter is perhaps more interested in echoing the tone of Beston's writing than in connecting with young readers ("He stayed to watch the unheralded ceremony of nature unfold and to write about the never-ending pageantry of Creation"), but it remains a lovely vision of one man's communion with nature. Ages 8–up. (July)
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