Home > Children's Picture Books >

Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds
Appalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds

Our Price: $7.99
Pages: 21
Trim: 9 x 11
Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0-15-201893-X


By Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by Barry Moser

This beautiful book by Rylant and Moser captures what is good and special about Appalachia: stars with sweet smiles, good dogs who like to run rabbits, and the people: hard workers and great thinkers, who usually keep their thoughts to themselves, but have voices like sleeping birds. It conjures up memories of biscuits, cornbread and room leftover for lemon pound cake; men hunting in winter and the women canning in summer, all in the company of good Appalachian dogs.


Like a cherished photograph album, this portrait of Appalachia by two natives of the region is suffused with memories made golden by time. Beginning with the dogs that are "named Prince or King" and live in towns "with names like Coal City and Sally's Backbone," Rylant moves to the people, their houses and their activities. Neither story nor factual treatise, the text offers pure nostalgia--a skillfully structured essay that appears, deceptively, to meander like a dusty country lane and underscores the warmth, generosity of spirit and steadfastness of the inhabitants of the "shimmering painted mountains." Rylant is frequently effusive: "The men and women and children who live in Appalachia have no sourness about them," she says; and "The children love all the seasons." But when she focuses on particular details, lyricism suffuses her prose: the "mountains wear heavy shawls of fog, and giant moths flap at the porch lights while cars cut through the dark hollows like burrowing moles." Moser's masterfully executed paintings--from the stretching coon dog to the biscuits that wait on the iron stove--find beauty in plainness, capturing the culture and people of the hollows with affection and sensitivity. Ages 5-up. - Publishers Weekly