Arthur Geisert creates a stunning paean to the bustling Bernard, Iowa, community he calls home. The author/illustrator explains that he uses an etching technique invented in 1480 and employed by Rembrandt and Tintoretto. A continuous panorama that runs along the bottom of the spreads is 45-feet long, 3-inches high, spanning all four seasons. Geisert says it took him “almost forever” to come up with the letters from A to Z. “The first five to seven letters have to do with the spring, then you move to summer words,” he says. “It’s a very disciplined way of going about it.” Every morning, the author goes to Pearl’s for coffee (pictured for the letter “C”), as do his farmer neighbors. “I’d take my pencil drawings to Pearl’s, and they critiqued them over a period of three to four months,” he says. One farmer contacted Geisert when he was going out to “hay,” then critiqued Geisert’s drawing for the letter “H.” “That was redone three times before I got the tractor spacing and wind-row spacing correctly,” says Geisert. “This is the most accurate depiction of farming in Northeast Iowa right now.” No doubt about it. In a starred review, Kirkus called this “a simply glorious barn and farm opus.”


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Pub info:

Country Road ABC: An Illustrated Journey through America’s Farmland

Arthur Geisert

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt / May / 9780547194691 / $17.00 / ages 5-8