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The Highwayman [Paperback]

Alfred Noyes
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 18 2003
Alfred Noyes's famous poem still has the power to thrill us as we read the story of the highwayman and his doomed love for Bess, the landlord's black-eyed daughter. Charles Keeping's stunning illustrations won this book the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1982. The paperback is now reissued with a new cover.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Noyes's famous poem about a beautiful woman who dies (with her breast "shattered . . . drenched with her own red blood") to save her lover, who is, in turn, shot down "like a dog on the highway," is not for the faint-hearted--and surely not for four-to-eight-year-olds, as this edition recommends. But Waldman's watercolors, both abstract and realistic, capture the haunting, tragic spirit of the text. His broad palette glows, and his frequent use of shadow and silhouette is magnificent. The illustrations of the poem's horrific ending are not graphic: the artist wisely lets the power of Noyes's words dominate here, as they should. For older readers, this unusual--and triumphant--treatment provides a striking introduction to an epic work. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up-- Noyes' familiar ballad of love, betrayal, and death is given vivid iteration in Waldman's watercolor paintings. Unlike versions by Charles Mikolaycak (Lothrop, 1983) and Charles Keeping (Oxford, 1987), these illustrations are richly colored with green and lavender moors and cloud-filled skies of blue and black. Despite this use of color, the effect is stylized and design supercedes realism. The dynamic shapes of hills and clouds are contained within fine black lines; and trees, leaves, and birds are shown in silhouette. The pages are tightly bordered at the bottom and sides but flow freely from the top to form wind-blown trees and racing clouds. The framing is occasionally broken for dramatic effect: Bess' hair cascades outside one margin; a musket handle breaks through another; and, in the moment of Bess' death, the moors change to a crimson that spills from the frame like drops of blood. One of the more successful aspects of the style is the deliberate abstraction of most of the characters. While the portrayal of the highwayman on his rearing horse is outrageously romantic, he is primarily seen in silhouette, his face only hinted at. Tim the ostler is barely noticed--his white face is the blank space on which is printed the text of his discovery of Bess' love. The soldiers are mere shapes and shadows. The only exception to this treatment is Bess, an idealized beauty in full color. This seems an unfortunate choice since the realism breaks the mood and weakens the tension felt throughout the rest of the book. The strong sense of atmosphere and dramatic use of design reinforce the melodrama of the story, and these illustrations will attract readers to Noyes' perennial favorite. --Eleanor K. MacDonald, Beverly Hills Public Library
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Look for me by moonlight..... Aug. 15 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees//The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas//
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor//And the highwayman came riding-riding-riding- up to the old inn door."

I got this for my sister, who in her younger years immersed herself in this sad poem about doomed love between a highwayman and Bess the daughter of a landlord. It is beautifully written and I can see why it had this effect. You can almost feel the hoofbeats....

This book has haunting illustrations to accompany the text which do no detract from it
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Poem June 8 2004
This poem never fails to thrill me - my mother used to read is to us as kids and I did it as the poem in my matric final.
I am now a grandmother and shall read it to my grandchildren and hope that they enjoy it as much as I did, although I doubt that they shall know what a highwayman is !!
It is a classic that will never die .
Cecelia Pestana Johannesburg South Africa
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great poem Feb. 13 2004
By A Customer
I'm a freshman in highschool and this is definately one of the best poems i have read. A lot of people haven't read or even heard of it and this surprises me a lot. This poem is very deep and I think you have to read it a couple times to really appreciate the rhyme scheme and the "plot" of the poem. I would highly suggest reading it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A CLASSIC Oct. 25 1999
Interesting visual interpretation of a classic. I remember being introduced to this poem in junior high (over 20 years ago!) as an example of the "anti-hero". Readers may also be interested in Loreena McKennitt's musical version of this poem on her "Book of Secrets" CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great May 22 2001
This book offered a wonderful protrail of the classic by alfred noyes. The pictures within 'the highwayman' are great, they have been wonderfuly drawn by Charles Keeping to portray the fantasic poem that has won the hearts of so many.
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