cover image Right Here on This Spot

Right Here on This Spot

Sharon Addy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-73091-1

In this lyrical homage to humankind's relationship to the land, ""this spot"" is the farm belonging to the narrator's grandfather, and as Grandpa digs a ditch, he discovers clues to its past. The story of the land begins with the Paleo-Indians of the Ice Age: ""Indians in ancient times/ lit a campfire/ on a glacial beach."" In Addy's (A Visit with Great-Grandma) stately text, spare language evokes the changes of seasons and of centuries, and sets the stage for the artifacts Grandpa uncovers: a mastodon bone, old Indian arrowheads and a button from a Civil War uniform. Clapp, who exhibited his talent for realistic landscapes with mystical qualities in The Stone Fey, here juxtaposes a realistic painting of Grandpa driving his tractor over the fields with a haunting portrait of the Indians, their faces aglow by firelight, sitting under a full moon. This illustration provides a graceful transition to the next spread of a luminous moon that ""rose and set,/ over and over./ Season followed season."" Together, text and art smoothly convey the passage of time in this specific area near the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan and chronicle its progression from glacial beach to Civil War battleground to what is now patchwork farmland. Readers never see the child narrator, though the grandfather and grandmother have cameo appearances; the effect of these predominantly unpopulated landscapes creates a feeling of reverence for the book's real main character--the land itself. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)