Fourteen “one-of-a-kind” Colonial American objects are given stories of how and why they came to be.
Taking actual objects crafted in the 18th and 19th centuries in mostly the northern and eastern parts of the United States, Schaefer spins stories to give the objects historical context and life. Some objects have been well-documented and so the stories around them are factual, but others’ histories are more shrouded, so Schaefer has taken the liberty of imagining, using authentic details to the time period, their creations. Illustrator Stadtlander matches these stories with primitive gouache paintings that evoke the work of the limners of the era and are full of rich, saturated colors, incorporating appropriate details and creating an authentic atmosphere with their style. Adding to the Colonial Americana look is the Eric Sloane–like display type used for headings and the onomatopoeic words (which cleverly mimic the sounds of the objects’ creations). Except for those depicted in the stories of a tin box crafted by a freed slave in Virginia in order to carry his freedom papers and of a bandolier bag crafted by an unknown Ojibwe, all people illustrated are white. The objects run the gamut, including a circa-1850 scrimshaw pie crimper, an embroidery sampler from 1798, and a terrestrial globe from 1810.
A carefully designed book that brings the past and the hand-created objects of the past to full-blooded life. (author’s note, further information) (Informational picture book. 6-12)