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Me, All Alone, at the End of the World Hardcover – Sep 13 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick (Sept. 13 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763615862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763615864
  • Product Dimensions: 26.7 x 29.2 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #956,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A storyline far more real than make-believe Jan. 8 2006
By Corinne H. Smith - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The narrator of this picture book is a young boy who lives alone at the edge of a cliff. He leads an idyllic life in a paradise of his own creation, away from the demands of modern civilization. His time is his own and he spends it exploring, reading, and whistling to his mule. Enter the intruding Constantine Shimmer, Professional Visionary, who finds the place so wonderful, he wants to turn it into a tourist attraction. And he succeeds. The boy is temporarily caught up in the excitement, making new friends with youngsters who come to vacation away from the city. But eventually he realizes that he misses the solitude and the sound of the wind. He leaves to find it elsewhere.

Hawkes' fanciful illustrations depict the remote setting perfectly without singling out a specific identity. (Is it the Grand Canyon? Or Niagara Falls?) More details are revealed the more you study the pages, which is a marvelous characteristic for a children's book to have. Young readers will wish they could find such a hideout of their own.

This book came to me just as I learned that my grandparents' farm in eastern Pennsylvania was being targeted by a developer. Condos and a strip mall are likely to obliterate the territory I used as a playground to explore nature in the 1960s and 1970s. No child will ever again climb into that barn hayloft. I'll admit that I'm not as accepting and mature as Anderson's main character is. I'm not ready to let Civilization take over a property that's been in our family since 1915. I haven't yet decided what, if anything, I'll do to try to stop the process. Paging through this book, however, inspires me to do Something.

The Booklist reviewer found multi-leveled meanings in the text and pictures which passed me by. My interpretation is that this book could generate valuable discussion with readers of any age. Topics could range from the definition of home to environmental protection and the ills of urban sprawl. How long will we allow this kind of travesty to continue? "Me, All Alone, at the End of the World" is a thought-provoking book that should be put into the hands of most children and many adults. Let's send copies to our legislators as well, accompanied by recordings of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi." Anderson's book is a visualization of paving paradise to put up a parking lot.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Magical Family Favorite April 16 2010
By J. P. Nykanen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband and I and our two year old son love this book; we first borrowed it from the library and had to get our own copy. The illustrations are full of detail and little surprises, but not so detailed that my son is uninterested, rather poring over the pages on his own. He also sits still for reading it aloud despite the length. The language has a subtle rhythm, a bit hypnotic, making it easy to read aloud. The reader is naturally pulled along as the pace of the story increases and then slows with the spacious exhalation at the end.

The story itself is deeply satisfying. While it may be read as a caution against commercialism and a frantic "go go go" life, I think it is more an example of balance and "knowing thyself". The boy is happy in his solitary life, but does feel the lure of companionship and enjoys new experiences with his friends. When he is burned out and returns to simple solitude he writes letters to his friends and plans to visit them "someday". We can dive into the world, whirling with new things, experiences, ideas, people, and then also give our true selves room to expand.

"There is a luxury in being quiet in the heart of chaos" Virginia Woolf
Brave New World for kids May 2 2013
By Clay Erickson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book has such a great lesson. I have summed it up for my kids thusly: Let us get away from the loud fun and go and see the quiet fun.

Has anyone else ever read Brave New World? The author had to have read it because the lesson in it is the so similar. Unplug from the tech world and go see nature.
I confess I feel this way about the Grand Canyon Skywalk May 9 2012
By M. Heiss - Published on
Format: Hardcover
We are a family who prefers to vacation where there are no other people, or not many. We like the National Parks -- in the off season.

This book shows about how most normal people would react to someone building a Vegas casino right there in Zion National Park. Soon it is impossible to enjoy the beauty because of the raucous noise and people everywhere. What, natural beauty isn't enough for you, you need to be entertained, too? I confess I feel this way about the Grand Canyon Skywalk -- the giant glass sidewalk suspended over the Canyon and luring tourists hundreds of miles into the desert to pay rip-off prices.

Anyway, the main character is totally relatable. I, too, like to listen to the wind. It's time I had some time alone, eh?
Great and thoughtful read aloud for older kids too. Dec 7 2011
By C. Scott - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of those picture books that is really meant for older kids. It's thoughtful and funny and the illustrations are tremendously detailed and suit the book's quirkiness perfectly. It is really kind of a morality tale--about how we always want more and more and more and are never satisfied with what we have. As well as that plot, the beautiful natural place where the young boy lives at the end of the world is destroyed by the developer who just keeps building and building and building more and more and more. It's a bit lengthy for young kids, but oh, how they need to hear it. I've read it out loud to second through sixth graders; it's the kind of book that's a great discussion starter for all ages. And the illustrations really draw you in. Beautifully done.