MATTHEW WHEELOCK'S WALL by Frances Ward Weller
Kirkus Star


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Old Matthew and his horse cleared a pasture, 100 years ago, putting the biggest rock, in a trench and saving the others. Once his crops were in, he planned a wall, studying the stones ""until he knew one from another, like his sheep,"" sorting, pondering their shapes in his dreams. Then, with great care and ingenuity, he set them together like a puzzle, each stone touching its neighbors and with the large, flat stones as a cap: a sturdy monument to last for generations. In Weller's beautifully honed and cadenced text, her vivid description of an intriguing craft (as much an art, in its way, as fitting words together) becomes a potent image: ""His need became a dream and then a plan...He knew the small ones need the big, the big the small. So like the world is Matthew Wheelock's wall."" Lewin, well known for the subtlety of his watercolor portraits (see Heide's Sami and the Tune of Troubles, p. 537), gives as loving a rendition here of Matthew's wall, celebrating its intricate pattern, balance, color, and serenity and its role as wildlife haven and site for children's imaginative play. Truly outstanding in every way: a book of rare insight and beauty.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1992
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Macmillan