Here, in their second stunning collaboration, Diane Siebert and Wendell Minor create a joyful, singing celebration of this country's heartland, the Midwest. It is a land where wheat fields grow and cornfields stretch across the plains to create a patchwork quilt in hues of yellow, green, and brown.
As with their MOJAVE, Siebert and Minor again take on the considerable challenge of treating land as character and narrator, with salutary results. Strong, assured verses and paintings create a vital celebration of the American midwest in its many faces, from farmland to town to cityscape. The "patch-work quilt" of fertile fields is dotted with storefronts and grain elevators; in turn, "farm and city rhythms merge" in the mills, stockyards and skyscrapers that rise out of the plains. Among these panoramas shines the quiet dignity of the farmer, the stolid serenity of his beasts and the majesty of the land itself. In less able hands, this could easily have lapsed into sentimentality. Siebert and Wendell skirt that possibility neatly in a paean which, reminiscent of the works of Carl Sandburg, embraces the harshness and wrinkles as well as the beauty of the land--a place where, as readers are reminded, "Nature reigns." Ages 4-8.(Mar.)
From School Library Journal
Gr 1-4 A hymn to the American farmer, to whom Siebert dedicates the book. Her poetry sings the praises of the landscape of the Great Plains, including the malevolence of nature and the human spirit which works against it to bring the land into fruition. In blank verse, the sentiment is reminiscent of Carl Sandburg on Chicago. The scenes on each page are isolated, grouped around the passing seasons, with special attention to summer, when the farmer's efforts on the landscape are most obvious. For all the attention just given to the verse, the pictures are what dominate the book. With Edward Hopper realism, the watercolor double-page spreads, each framed with black line, have photographic immediacy to them. On the one hand, they catalogue small-town life, complete with antique storefronts of the 1920s and 1930s; on the other hand the cars parked out front are clearly late models. The pictures are striking and arresting.
NCSS/CBC Notable 1989 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies, April 5, 1990
NCTE 1990 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts, Feb. 5, 1991 (National Council of Teachers of English)
IRA/CBC Favorite Paperbacks for 1994, Jan. 5, 1994
1989 John Burroughs List of Nature Books For Young Readers, April 2, 1990
ALA Booklist Children's Editors' Choices for 1989, Nov. 12, 1989
The paperback edition of HEARTLAND wins a Merit Award from The New York Art Directors Club 72nd Annual Exhibition , May 5, 1993
Paintings from HEARTLAND are included in:
The Society of Illustrators' 31st Annual National Exhibition, Feb. 24, 1989
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