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Henry Hikes to Fitchburg


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About the Author

D. B. Johnson has been a freelance illustrator for more than twenty years and has done editorial cartoons, comic strips, and conceptual illustrations for magazines and newspapers around the country. Mr. Johnson's first picture book, Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, was a New York Times bestseller and a Publishers Weekly bestseller, as well as an American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists." Henry Hikes to Fitchburg also won numerous awards, including the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Picture Books and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. Mr. Johnson and his wife, Linda, live in New Hampshire.


K-Gr 4-This video adaptation of D.B. Johnson's picture book (HM, 2000) is a lighthearted introduction to the Transcendental ideas of Henry David Thoreau. Johnson's book is based upon a passage from Thoreau's Walden in which a friend asks Thoreau why he does not take the train. Thoreau's response, that in taking the train one would spend the greater part of the day working for the ticket money rather than enjoying the trip, is illustrated here by Henry the bear and his friend. Henry spends a leisurely day hiking to Fitchburg, enjoying the scenery and pressing flowers into his book, while his friend spends the day working odd jobs to earn the ticket money. Though his friend does get to Fitchburg first, the message is clear ("I stopped for blackberries," says Henry). The video, narrated by James Naughton, pans the illustrations from the book and uses carefully chosen spot animation to liven up the story. Background music by Jon Carroll differentiates Henry's leisurely journey from the hectic pace of his friend's life. A short biographical segment on Henry David Thoreau concludes the video, offering context and explaining the story's origins. Though targeted to younger children, this would also be a lively addition to classes on Transcendentalism for older students.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

A masterpiece . . .The finest illustrations I've seen in years and years and years. --Daniel Pinkwater, NPR Weekend Edition

An auspicious picture book debut. --Horn Book Horn Book This splendid book works on several levels. Johnson's adaptation of a paragraph taken from Thoreau's Walden illuminates the contrast between materialistic and naturalistic view of life without ranting or preaching. . . . [The illustrations] demonstrate Johnson's virtuosic control of his craft --Booklist, starred review Booklist, ALA, Starred Review STAR A nicely realized retelling of a short passage from Henry Thoreau's Walden. --School Library Journal, starred review School Library Journal, Starred A Publishers Weekly Flying Start Publishers Weekly

In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "It's hard to imagine making Thoreau's philosophy comprehensible and accessible to young readers, but Johnson pulls it off." Ages 4-8. (Nov.) n Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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