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When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomerby Walt Whitman
Synopses & Reviews
Leave time for wonder. andlt;BRandgt; Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is an enduring celebration of the imagination. Here, Whitman's wise words are beautifully recast by andlt;Iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/Iandgt; #1 best-selling illustrator Loren Long to tell the story of a boy's fascination with the heavens. Toy rocket in hand, the boy finds himself in a crowded, stuffy lecture hall. At first he is amazed by the charts and the figures. But when he finds himself overwhelmed by the pontifications of an academic, he retreats to the great outdoors and does something as universal as the stars themselves... andlt;BRandgt; he dreams.
"The illustrations in Long's latest effort call to mind his work in I Dream of Trains; both have an ethereal quality that pulls readers utterly into the story's world. Shadowy and soft-edged, in moody autumn colors, the images are paired here with a short verse from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, itself a resonant exploration of inner life. Long casts a redheaded boy in the role of narrator, and conveys his obsession with the galaxy through the boy's bedroom with its star-studded bedspread, lampshade and hand-chalked artwork. A wordless spread depicts his entry into a formidable building with his parents, where he attends a lecture by a 'learn'd astronomer.' Full-bleed paintings reveal the boy's curiosity as he explores his surroundings, but once the speaker begins, the child slumps in his seat: 'How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick.' He slips outdoors 'in the mystical moist night-air,' which gradually revives him. Long signals the boy's growing awareness of the celestial vastness by progressing from tight, intimate images (the boy contemplating a globe) to large-scale panoramas (the boy gazing upward in awestruck reverie, the stars — literally — reflected in his eyes). Children's doodles (math notations, scribbled stars) scattered throughout, add a playful note and also underscore the boy's fascination with the skies. The book's almost reverential pacing matches the rhythm of Whitman's poem and, in effect, forces young readers to slow down and savor the words. Long creates both an inviting introduction to poetry for children and an inspired paean to their dreams. All ages." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Leave time for wonder.
Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is an enduring celebration of the imagination. Here, Whitman's wise words are beautifully recast by New York Times #1 best-selling illustrator Loren Long to tell the story of a boy's fascination with the heavens. Toy rocket in hand, the boy finds himself in a crowded, stuffy lecture hall. At first he is amazed by the charts and the figures. But when he finds himself overwhelmed by the pontifications of an academic, he retreats to the great outdoors and does something as universal as the stars themselves...
Originally composed in 1873, Whitman's evocative poem is beautifully and timelessly recast by "New York Times" bestselling illustrator Loren Long to tell the story of a young boy who dreams of outer space. Full color.
About the Author
Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obamaand#8217;s andlt;iandgt;Of Thee I Singandlt;/iandgt;; the newest version of andlt;iandgt;The Little Engine that Couldandlt;/iandgt;; Madonnaand#8217;s second picture book, andlt;iandgt;Mr. Peabodyand#8217;s Applesandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;Iandgt;Nightsongandlt;/Iandgt; by Ari Berk; andandlt;iandgt; andlt;/iandgt;the Barnstormers series. He also illustrated Frank McCourtand#8217;s andlt;iandgt;Angela and the Baby Jesusandlt;/iandgt; and is part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszkaand#8217;s Trucktown series. Lorenand#8217;s work has appeared in andlt;iandgt;Timeandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Sports Illustratedandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Forbesandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;The Wall Street Journal,andlt;/iandgt; and andlt;iandgt;The Atlanticandlt;/iandgt;. He lives with his wife and two sons in Westchester, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com.andlt;Bandgt;Walt Whitmanandlt;/Bandgt; (1819-1892), arguably one of America's most influential and innovative poets, was born into a working-class family in West Hills, New York, and grew up in Brooklyn. His andlt;Iandgt;Leaves of Grass,andlt;/Iandgt; from which "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" comes, is considered one of the central volumes in the history of world poetry. While most other major writers of his time enjoyed a highly structured, classical education at private institutions, Whitman forged his own rough and informal curriculum, and his brief stint at teaching suggests that Whitman employed what were then progressive techniques — encouraging students to think aloud rather than simply recite, and involving his students in educational games.
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