Monday, April 25, 2016

He Was There From The Day We Moved In - a bookwrap


He Was There From The Day We Moved In

Authored by Rhoda Levine

Illustrated by Edward Gorey 

Ages  3-7

Another beautiful book by the New York Review Children's Collection... one of my favourite places to review!

Unwrapping some illustrations for you...

Praise for the book...

“Gentle color washes over Edward Gorey’s illustrations of spindly boys and shaggy dog and skies. They set just the right note for this story that achieves a sensitive equilibrium of pathos and humor, a total effect that is sentimental without apology and optimistic without reason.” – The New York Times

Praise for Edward Gorey:

“Edward Gorey’s work is remarkable and mysterious. I find it fascinating.” – Max Ernst

“I like to return to Edward Gorey’s works…he really is becoming a master.” – Edmund Wilson

“One of the most original artistic and literary minds in late 20th century America.” –The Los Angeles Times

“[Edward Gorey] is sublime, absurd and mystical.” – Oskar Kokoschka

“[Edward] Gorey’s unique talent should be represented as possible in every collection of American art and literature.” – American Library Association (Booklist)

About The Book...

A family moves into their new home and when they peer out through their window towards the garden they see a big, black and white, shaggy sheepdog just sitting there staring off into space like he is waiting for something.  But what?  He never budges.

The family is now on a quest to find out what that dog wants as he doesn't seem to be moving along any time soon.  They offer him food, shelter from the rain and cold,  playful entertainment, but he is obilvious to their efforts to win him over.  

 Ogdon, the little four year old, offers him a piece of string, a stray cat, hours of his time chatting to him, a box of crayons, a calendar, and even a coveted green lollypop... but the dog remains unresponsive to his goodwill gestures.  What in the world could this dog desire?

Then his big brother has a Eureka moment!!! The dog is waiting for his name!  That's it!  Big brother compiles a huge long list of names that might be just what the dog is waiting for.  Excited, little Ogdon races off into the garden to suggest the perfect name to his canine friend:

"Ogden ran right up to him, stopped short and pointed at his nose.  "Your name!-" Ogdon was breathless.  "Your name, I know your name"  It's -" He lifted up an ear and whispered into it.  Then he stepped back."

The dog just blinked, blinked again, stood up, shook himself and walked to the end of garden.  Ogdon just stood there looking sad, really sad.  The name was rejected!

The boys keep on searching. Will they stumble upon the perfect one?  Maybe you could suggest a name that the dog would like.  Maybe you could helps the boys out. Think you could?  Give it a try. 

The dog didn't exit the yard completely so I think that is an indication that he is not leaving any time soon.  The boys are still thinking, the dog is still waiting...  they both are trying very hard and as their mother says,  "that's about the best anyone can do..."

About the author...

Rhoda Levine is the author of seven children’s books (two of which were illustrated by Edward Gorey) and is an accomplished director and choreographer. In addition to working for major opera houses in the United State and Europe, she has choreographed shows on and off Broadway, and in London’s West End. Among the world premieres she has directed are Der Kaiser von Atlantis, by Viktor Ullmann, and The Life and Times of Malcolm X and Wakonda’s Dream, both by Anthony Davis. In Cape Town she directed the South African premier of Porgy and Bess in 1996, and she premiered the New York City Opera productions of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead, Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, and Adamo’s Little Women. Levine has taught acting and improvisation at the Yale School of Drama, the Curtis Institute of Music, and Northwestern University, and is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and the Mannes College of Music. She lives in New York, where she is the artistic director of the city’s only improvisational opera company, Play It by Ear. 

About the illustrator...

Edward Gorey (1925–2000) was born in Chicago. He studied briefly at the Art Institute of Chicago, spent three years in the army testing poison gas, and attended Harvard College, where he majored in French literature and roomed with the poet Frank O’Hara. In 1953 Gorey published The Unstrung Harp, the first of his many extraordinary books, which include The Curious Sofa, The Haunted Tea-Cosy, and The Epiplectic Bicycle

In addition to illustrating his own books, Edward Gorey provided drawings to countless books for both children and adults. Of these, New York Review Books has published The Haunted Looking Glass, a collection of Gothic tales that he selected and illustrated; The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells; Men and Gods, a retelling of ancient Greek myths by Rex Warner; in collaboration with Rhoda Levine, Three Ladies Beside the Sea and He Was There from the Day We Moved In; and The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, a collection of tales by Saki.

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