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THOREAU AT WALDEN by John Porcellino Kirkus Star


by John Porcellino & illustrated by John Porcellino

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: April 22nd, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4231-0038-6
Publisher: Hyperion

Pairing terse extracts from Thoreau’s writings with very simple line drawings in squared-off panels, Porcellino artfully presents a compelling sense of the philosopher’s voice, his powers of observation and his sensitivity to the world around him. Sandwiched between an introduction by D.B. Johnson (Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, 2000, etc.) and an extensive closing section of citations and commentary, the account picks up as Thoreau realizes, wandering through Concord, that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” This leads to Thoreau’s simple life at Walden Pond and the brief arrest for tax evasion that provided the occasion for “Civil Disobedience,” closing with his conclusion that “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” By mixing panels with and without text, Porcellino creates a poetic alternation of words and silences that effectively draws the reader into Thoreau’s point of view. This graphic portrait will enrich the insight into his life and character afforded by Johnson’s fictionalized episodes, or Robert Burleigh’s Man Named Thoreau (1985). (bibliography) (Graphic nonfiction. 10-14)