LOUISA MAY & MR. THOREAU’S FLUTE by Julie Dunlap

LOUISA MAY & MR. THOREAU’S FLUTE

Age Range: 7 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The authors embroider historical encounters into a speculative account of the awakening of a writer’s gift. In seven-year-old “Louy” Alcott’s eyes, fellow Concord resident Henry Thoreau cuts a glamorous figure, a wild-haired young teacher given to taking children on expeditions into the surrounding woods, and to playing haunting melodies on his flute. Escaping as often as she can from her strictly regulated household, Louisa learns ways of seeing the natural world from Mr. Thoreau as she watches him write in his journal, and struggles to reproduce the melodies that run through her head. For her, however, “ . . . there was nothing to write about. Only endless tasks and doing your duty . . . Words seemed trapped inside her, like fish under ice.” That ice breaks, though, along with the Concord River’s ice, when the sight and sound of a spring robin frees her first poem: “Welcome, welcome little stranger. / Fear no harm, and fear no danger . . . ” Louisa looks considerably older than seven in Azarian’s (The Race of the Birkebeiners, 2001, etc.) hand-colored woodcuts, but the illustrations’ folk-art style artfully evokes the era in which the tale is set, and the crisply distinct patterns on clothing, tree trunks, and water create a harmonic interplay of textures. Though this does introduce two of American greatest authors, it’s more about writing than particular writers, more about living than particular lives. (foreword, afterword, source note) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8037-2470-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002




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