Jill Esbaum & Adam Rex
Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2005 (2005)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ill Esbaum's succinct verses take us back in time to the arrival of a steamboat '
in a sleepy village on the Mississippi River
' in 1867. Adam Rex's lovely, old-fashioned paintings finish setting the scenes. When someone spots the '
', it energizes all the folk who live in that river town.
here it is ... a '
Floating palace, / white and red, /chimneys belching overhead.
' After the packet's arrival, the phrases of the verses neatly turn into labels on the pictures of goods delivered - like '
Belts and buckles, / long johns, / shoes, / upstate papers bringing news.
' And all too soon, it's time to '
Stoke the furnace, / ring the bell, / coil the lines and wave farewell.
at the back, Jill Esbaum speaks of reading Mark Twain's
Life on the Mississippi
, and tells us that she hoped to capture the impact of a steamboat's visit and a river town's dependence on it as a lifeline. She succeeded admirably in
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