Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

Henry David's House

Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

Henry David's House

Article excerpt

THOREAU, HENRY DAVID (1854,2002). Henry David's House. Edited by Steven Schnur; Illustrated by Peter Fiore. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge. ISBN 0881061166.

Who better to represent the idea of appreciating the beauty and clarity of simplicity through elevated language than Henry David Thoreau? This is a gorgeous book, in which editor Schnur selects passages from the first edition of Thoreau's Waiden, or Life in the Woods that are particularly accessible for young readers. In a large picture-book format, we encounter young Henry, who describes his experiences as he builds a small house in the woods by Waiden Pond in 1845. Henry's important interactions are with water, wind, plants, birds and other creatures, although there are people in the story, such as the "acquaintances" with whom he frames the house, the children picking berries, and the runaway slave. But the story is about nature, and the value of finding harmony therewith. Henry describes what he sees and also what he hears in such elegant detail, saying a "slight sound at evening lifts me up by the ears, and makes life seem inexpressibly grand," reminding us of the isolation his life in the woods provides. …

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