THE BACKYARD by John Collier


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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 An artist who's been much honored by his peers at the Society of Illustrators (15 medals) explores a familiar theme: following a suburban yard from the present back through times when ``cowboys sang lonesome songs and died on cold plains'' and ``Braves loved maidens, and great battles with no names raged'' to dinosaurs, mountains rising and falling, and ``hydrogen and darkness and the hand of God.'' But the concept is secondary to Collier's fascination with the composition at which he excels. A tree and the figure posed against it become a single form; light on a ball echoes a crescent moon; dramatic light and muted colors (to say nothing of one wall of a partly built house, poised alone on a concrete slab) have an intriguingly surreal, dreamlike air. Unfortunately, the striking arrangements of images don't further the narrative or the development of the idea, as do Catalanotto's lovely illustrations for George Ella Lyon's similar, but far more appealing, Who Came Down That Road? (1992). Lyon's lyrical text, too, has a sense of mystery and awe that's lacking here. A handsome series of paintings, but not essential. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-670-83609-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1993


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