Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speak, by Kay Winters, illustrated by Larry Day--The near universal opinion in my household (or at any rate, the independent readers therein) was that this is a beautiful book about the Boston Tea Party. Beautiful and boring. The illustrations by Larry Day are very nice, but the text assumes too much knowledge on the part of the reader, and is too spare. Generally speaking, I appreciate authors who use as few words as possible to get their points across, especially in children's books. In this case, however, Kay Winters was downright miserly in her use of language. The text is set in irregular columns, as though it is trying to look like poetry. But it doesn't read like poetry. Ms. Winters uses a different character point of view on each two-page spread and focuses mostly on how the characters are feeling as opposed to why. The whole book--text and illustration alike--fails to convey the urgent energy which must have accompanied the build up to this cathartic event in Colonial America. For a historical non-fiction book, remarkably little history is imparted.