Founded by Ann Lee at the end of the eighteenth century, the Shaker communities were some of the most successful utopian communities in America. Their way of life is celebrated with poetic text by Ann Turner and beautifully spare paintings by acclaimed artist Wendell Minor.
K-Gr 3. The Shaker motto "hands to work, hearts to God" provides the thematic thread and rhythmic pulse in this poetic treatment of a nearly extinct sect. Turnerâs clean verse incorporates important practices and beliefs into four-line stanzas. The rhyme scheme invites the toes to tap and creates a subtle appreciation for the movement that triggered the groupâs name, as well as for the conclud-ing scene in which women in swaying skirts and men with knees raised offer outstretched hands to one another in a joyful dance. Printed on a white background, the text is framed by a "window" that includes a homespun image in the lunettean apple pie, a sprig of herbs, a wheelbarrow. Facing pages contain full-color scenes, depicting daily life and work, that glow with soft, but brilliant light. Windows are a clever leitmotif throughout, highlighting their importance to the Shakers and creating the sense that readers are peering into a distant time. Minorâs buildings are solid, his landscapes sweeping, his people almost sculptural. An introductory note provides a brief back-ground; details alluded to in the text (dancing, gender equality) are described in back matter. Find a use for this masterfully made celebration of a group that has quietly made significant contributions to society.
From Carolyn Mott Ford Childrenâs Literature
A perfect blending of theme, text and illustrations, this visually appealing book could be read aloud as a bedtime poem to a toddler. The older children, reading the authorâs notes along with the main text, will gain some understanding of the Shaker community. The notes also serve to allow use of the book as a starting point when doing research on the Shaker way of life. The simple paintings by Wendell Minor are impressive in their own right yet precisely complement the spare text of Ann Turner. They are fitting illustrations of a Shaker village where simplicity was a lifestyle and beauty was evident in the ordinary accoutre-ments of existence.
The Shaker motto "Hands to work, hearts to God" is depicted in twelve four-line verses and seventeen acrylic paintings as elegant and serene as the buildings and artifacts they show, from Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts. Readers see "brothers and sisters" at work in field and barn, kitchen, garden, and workshop, and dancing in their worship. An introductory note gives a brief history of the Shakers, and endnotes tell a bit more about their activities. Turner (Elfsong, 1995, etc.) and Minor have created a beautifully designed addition to the sparse literature for young people about this remarkable sect.
Paintings from SHAKER HEARTS are included in:
Society of Illustrators 39th Annual National
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