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When I Was Young in the Mountains [Paperback]

Cynthia Rylant , Diane Goode
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 10 1993 Reading Rainbow Books
"An evocative remembrance of the simple pleasures in country living; splashing in the swimming hole, taking baths in the kitchen, sharing family times, each is eloquently portrayed here in both the misty-hued scenes and in the poetic text."
-Association for Childhood Education International

Caldecott Honor Book.

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When I Was Young in the Mountains + Miss Rumphius
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When I was young in the mountains, Grandfather came home in the evening covered with the black dust of the coal mine. Now, Cynthia Rylant's When I Was Young in the Mountains, illus. by Diane Goode, a Caldecott Honor book, returns in a 20th-anniversary edition wrapped with a copper-colored commemorative band.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

As a child, Diane Goode loved books and art. She has been drawing ever since she can remember. Of Italian and French descent, she enjoyed the richness of both cultures and traveled to Europe every summer visiting family as well as cathedrals and museums. She feels that these early impressions helped shape her appreciation of art and life. She studied art history at Queens College, but switched to fine arts, in which she earned her degree.

Her love for Europe shows in the setting of many of her books Paris in particular, where two of her recent picture books, Where's Our Mama? and Mama's Perfect Present. take place. She drew on her experience of living for a short time in Pennsylvania, to do the art work for Cynthia Rylant's story of Appalachia, When I Was Young in the Mountains, for which she was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal. Diane Goode has illustrated 27 books for children, including anthologies and stories she has written herself. She has always been drawn to the classics and has illustrated many of the traditional fairy tales. Of her process, she says:

"I always begin with a rough dummy and then work on the individual pages, sketching very loosely and quickly to establish movement and composition. I do these dozens of times, repositioning enlarging, reducing, adding and omitting. There are always hundreds of sketches for each book. It sounds tedious, but it is the most exciting part of creating a book. When I m satisfied with these, I do the final art. All of my work is done on opaline parchment, a thin but strong paper. I sketch lightly in pencil and use water colors applied with very fine sable brushes. Sometimes I use color pencils with the paint to soften the atmosphere."

Diane Goode now lives in Watchung, New Jersey, with her husband David, an author and college professor. Their son, Peter, attends Rhode Island School of Design.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Appalachia never looked so good Feb. 15 2004
Author Cynthia Rylant has written a tender story of her childhood days, living in the Appalachian Mountains not so long ago. Accompanied by the excellent illustrator Diane Goode, the book is a straightforward look at life amongst the best-known American mountain folk. Scenes of daily life include everything from needing a brave adult to accompany you out into the dark scary night (on your way to the outhouse) to getting baptized in the local swimming hole.
The book is remarkable for its lack of overt sentimentality. Some might disagree with me, but I was struck by how this book did not fail to note the less than desirable elements of living in the wilderness. Swimming in a swimming hole of your own might be fun. Just watch out for snakes. And baths required an awful amount of work. Pumping the water. Carrying it to the house. Heating it. Goode's delicate illustrations accompany the text of this story perfectly. If Rylant says that the proprietors of the local store (Mr. & Mrs. Crawford) were identical, then gosh darn it, the people look identical. And I especially adored the moment when the narrator's grandmother kills a big nasty snake in the woods. The next picture displays the narrator, her brother, and two other red-headed childred posing sheepishly for a traveling photographer, gigantic dead snake draped across their heads.
I cannot think of many other book that take place in Appalachia. And I certainly can't think of any that are better than this. A sweet good-hearted story, "When I Was Young In the Mountains" understands what it meant to live a difficult life with pleasure and human warmth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story! May 24 2004
I read this book to my children (then ages 3 and 6) and they both loved it. I always look for stories about people who live or lived differently than we do today to help my children realize how EASY we have it today. They were especially interested (and amused by) the "johnny house" (my son still paraphrases the part about the child promissing not to have more than one serving of okra again after having to make repeated trips to the johnny house at night).
The illustrations were charming and complemented the text beautifully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True-to-life story of life in West Virginia Oct. 22 1999
By Jess
When I read this book for the first time, I couldn't help but remember stories my grandmother told me about her life in the hollars of West Virginia as a young girl. Although I did not grow up in this state, I've taught school here for 20 years. Believe it or not, much of this story is alive and well in West Virginia and that is a wonderful thing. Life is simple, family is important and good morals are still taught in these mountains and valleys. This book is an accurate depiction of life in rural Appalachia. I've given it as a gift to my nephews and nieces who live in other states and are not as "in touch" with their West Virginia heritage. The illustrations are beautiful and compliment the story wonderfully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a children's book about a child's life in the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia. The child is living with her grandparents, the grandfather being a coal miner. The book is based on the author's own life and memories of her happy childhood. It shows what life was like for a child in that environment and children should enjoy it. The text is beautifully illustrated by Diane Goode and it became a 1983 Caldecott Honor book (i.e., a runner-up to the Medal winner) for best illustrations in a book for children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A love song to the Appalachian region Aug. 25 2002
Cynthia Rylant's enduring favorite "When I Was Young in the Mountains" is the tale of her own childhood growing up in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. The gently repetitive text details her everyday life, from swimming in a swimming hole (even if there were snakes!) to taking a bath to drinking cocoa made by her grandmother. Each page starts off with, "When I was young in the mountains . . . " By the final page, we see that not only did Ms. Rylant appreciate her low-tech, memory-making childhood, but she wouldn't have traded it for anything.
Diane Goode's softly colored illustrations beautifully dovetail with the text, whether she's showing a river baptism, a nighttime trip to the "johnny-house" after too much fried okra, or a stint at the water pump. It's a lovely ode to the simple life, and to being happy with what you have instead of worrying about what you don't have.
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