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Drummer Hoff [Paperback]

Barbara Emberley , Ed Emberley
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 1972
Ed Emberley won the 1968 Caldecott Medal for his bold illustrations for Barbara Emberley's jaunty adaptation of the cumulative folk song about seven soldiers who build a magnificent cannon and Drummer Hoff, who fires it off.

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Barbara and Ed Emberley¹s collaborations include the Caldecott Honor Book One Wide River to Cross. Ed¹s books have also been honored on the New York Times¹s annual Best Illustrated Books List. The Emberleys live in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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First Sentence
Drummer Hoff fired it off. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
Okay, I'm gonna put this book in context for you. It's 1968. America is unofficially (according to all "reputable" sources) at war in Vietnam. It's the sixties. People are experimenting with drugs and the whole psychedelic scene. Enter the Caldecott Award winning, "Drummer Hoff". To the person who was writing the book jacket flap, this story, "will inspire a smart salute and a march about the room". To anyone who reads this book today, however, this is quintessential anti-war propaganda. And it's a marvelous read.
Throughout this tale, Drummer Hoff (who fired it off) and his fellow bespangled soldiers, officers, corporals, etc. construct, before our eyes, a canon. As the verses continue we see each member of the company adding his own touch to the proceedings. For example, Corporal Farrell brings the barrel. Major Scott brings the shot. You get the idea. This all culminates with General Border who, in the end, gives the order and Drummer Hoff (finally abandoning his baton) fires it off. Suddenly the world is engulfed in blood red smoke, Hoff knocked slightly to one side, the extravagantly illustrated word, "KAHBAHBLOOOM" appearing. In our final scene the canon sits there, abandoned by the men. Baby birds grow in its mouth. The name of the canon (Sultan) has been buried and we now only see a smiling sun on its side. Grasshoppers frolic, a spider spins its web, and flowers are everywhere. Make of it what you will
So let's look at it again. The words are very much like an old English series of verses. They could be 40 years old or 400. Now look at the illustrations. I think I'm truthful in saying that I have never read a children's book that looked like this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Woodcut Drummer May 22 2002
By Jay
There is a rhyme that adds a line each segment as the primary text in this book. A cute story, though it is lacking a true beginning-middle-end, it could help children with rhyming words and the concepts of rime and onset. The illustrations are clever, interesting and appealing. They were created with carved woodblocks that were then dipped into ink and used like stamps. The curious feature however is the element of line and the way it is utilized.
Why 3 stars?:
There is no real story to this. The rhyme is pointless and uninteresting. It possibly could have better if it went somewhere, but it is quite short. I considered using it for practice with rhyming, but the rhymes are fairly difficult. I would pass this one up unless you are a true collector of Caldecott winners.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vietnam War Redux Nov. 16 2003
I used to read Drummer Hoff to my little girls in the late 1960's and early 1970's, at the height of the antiwar movement. I am saddened by the reviews that fail to find the message in this fine little book. It was published in 1967, and is such an obvious antiwar book that I can only feel the reviewers have little sense of history. The idyllic pastoral environment with little birds and flowers is blown to pieces at the end as the giant cannon, "Sultan," explodes. It is a tale of the self-destructive savagery of war. My little girls are now grown, about to have their own children, and I am giving Drummer Hoff to them, so their own antiwar instincts can be made vivid to their children in a language that all will find accessible and delightful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shared reader May 28 2003
By M
Don't pick apart the text too much, it won't make much sense to adults. Just be assured that within the first minute, any child will be completely engaged by the brilliant, somewhat old fashioned woodcut pictures and by the second or third reading will be crowing the refrain "fired it off!" with abandoned glee.
We finally discovered a paperback edition while at the Presidio bookstore in San Francisco, thereby giving the library copy a much needed rest. Yes, it ends abruptly and leaves me perplexed as to what exactly happened, but my children simple accept it as is and really enjoy testing their memories with cumulative rhymes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Family Classic Nov. 29 1999
Well, I probably cannot praise this book enough. I was first introduced to this book when my daughter was in kindergarten. I could not tell you how many times she checked this book out of the library. So many, in fact, the entire family was tired of reading it to her. But still, whenever I mention it to her, she smiles. And my son makes it into a game. Who can remember the lines? I think we've actually added soldiers to the story. The rhythm and rhyme of the story is just perfect. The illustrations are beautiful. They are so vivid and bright. This goes down as a classic for our family.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In The End You Need Drummer Hoff July 19 2000
This is probably the best "read aloud" book you will find. The story is about soldiers building a cannon and the name of each character ryhmes with the job he undertakes in the project (Drummer Hoff fired it off). The Illustrations are so colorful, detailed, and unusual each character takes on his own personality without saying anything. Our hero remains however, the silent, solitary Drummer Hoff, waiting throughout to do his duty. Children will love to hear it read, learn to read it themselves, and then read it aloud to you. Wonderful.
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