Prather’s Pick: A book about a scarecrow
Young readers are sure to enjoy the playful, rhythmic storyline of this week’s picture book. “The Scarecrow’s Dance” was written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Begram Ibatoulline.
Both author and illustrator have received awards for their work. In Yolen’s case, awards include the Christopher Medal, the Jewish Book Award, and the Golden Kite Award. She is also the author of “Owl Moon,” that received a Caldecott Award (the medal is presented to the illustrator of the book).
Ibatoulline was educated at the Moscow State Academic Art Institute. Besides this week’s book, he has illustrated “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” and “Great Joy,” both written by Kate DiCamillo, plus others.
The main character of this week’s book is a scarecrow that stands watch over a corn field.
It is an autumn night. The full moon, slightly covered by clouds, shines brightly, allowing the reader to get a good look at the scarecrow, the corn field, and other surroundings. Then a wind starts to blow. Pretty soon it’s a wild wind. The scarecrow’s clothes start to blow. Some pieces of cloth even blow clear off.
Pretty soon the scarecrow starts to bend, too. His straw arms and legs start to “fling” around. Then, as if he’s up to some mischief, the scarecrow gives a leap and comes clear off his pole. He appears to be flying up in the air but not for long.
Soon Scarecrow is on the ground again, dancing up and down the corn rows. He startles a bunch of black crows (that will probably never bother the corn again). Then Scarecrow’s dance takes him past a bunch of sleeping cows and pigs, past a tractor, and past a red barn. He comes right up to the farmhouse where a few windows are still lit up. The family is getting ready for bed.
Scarecrow goes right up to a window and peeks inside. He hears a young boy saying his prayers. What the boy says has a great impact on the scarecrow.
This is a charming book — a great book to share with children this autumn (and Halloween) season. The book is published by Simon & Shuster Books for Young Readers (2009). It costs about $16.99 in hardcover, probably less in softcover. You can also find it in the children’s room at the Craig Moffat County Library.
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Next week, Colorado Northwestern Community College and Moffat County are hosting a free day-long seminar for local ranchers and agriculture producers.