MacLachlan's characteristically resonant language and Wimmer's majestic paintings affectingly celebrate the natural world and the family. Told in the voice of a child who lives on a farm with his parents and grandparents, the author's poetic narrative opens on the day of the boy's birth, when his grandmother holds him up to the open window, ``So that what I heard first was the wind. / What I saw first were all the places to love: / The valley, / The river falling down over rocks, / The hilltop where the blueberries grew.'' The child introduces readers to the spots that each person in his family loves best: for his mother it is the hilltop where the sky is ``an arm's length away''; for his grandfather, the dark, cool barn (``Where else, he says, can the soft sound of cows chewing / Make all the difference in the world?''). Only after the birth of his sister does the boy reveal his favorite place of all: the marsh ``Where ducklings follow their mother / Like tiny tumbles of leaves.'' Whether focusing on a single, aging turtle or depicting a sweeping panorama, Wimmer's ( Train Song ; Flight ) paintings beautifully convey the splendor of nature, as well as the deep affection binding three generations. This inspired pairing of words and art is a timeless, uplifting portrait of rural family life. All ages. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994 Release date: 05/01/1994 Genre: Children's
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