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The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs Paperback – Illustrated, Feb. 27 2007
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About the Author
Matt Phelan's black-and-white illustrations first appeared in The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney. His picture books include The New Girl...and Me and Two of a Kind, both written by Jacqui Robbins. Matt lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Publisher : Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (Feb. 27 2007)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1416934898
- ISBN-13 : 978-1416934899
- Item weight : 159 g
- Dimensions : 13.02 x 1.52 x 19.37 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #477,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from Canada
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The story Ms. Birney weaves is so close to my own heart, I could almost swear that I grew up in Sassafras Springs. Though I am sad to say that my dissatisfaction growing up in the country, on the outskirts of a town with seemingly little to offer, did not allow me to realize the wonders surrounding me in my youth until I was well into adulthood. I sincerely wish a challenge similar to that of Eben's had been issued to me growing up so I could have learned at a much earlier age to appreciate what I now recognize I missed. In relation to my own childhood, the moving nature of this story made me weep.
Matt Phelan's illustrations are a wonderful compliment to this book. His drawings are completely classic and fit the story so perfectly, they remind me of Garth Williams' insight for the illustrations of the Little House series and E.B. White's enchanting tales. Though many recent books feature trendier artwork, the purity of Mr. Phelan's style is parallel to the purity of the story he brings to life with his drawings.
This book is destined to be a great classic, perhaps equal in significance to works such as A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Tom Sawyer. I have already begun a second reading of this story, and I am sure I will reread it many more times during my life as well. I believe it is my favorite of all the new books I have read in the last ten years. I literally could not put it down until I had finished it, and even dropped it into the kitchen sink at one point while combining daily chores while reading. This is a meaningful story of the heart and speaks directly to the meaning of life. I recommend it for everyone.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles
Top reviews from other countries
As he begins he thinks he can't even imagine one wonder much less seven. However, he eventually does. This book is full of entertaining stories and wonders of the world around you. During the course of his investigation Eban learns to look around and listen to those who have a story to tell.
We read this story and then I challenged my children to find their own seven wonders of our small community.
There's some incredible color to the story, and the titular wonders are stories that some kids would take years to get tired of re-reading.
Reading this the first time I felt there were too many characters, and some didn't appear often enough, but they're all distinct and/or developed enough that this isn't too big of a problem, and looking back, it's boldly realistic, given the size of the average farming community, as well as the sense of community there, which the book captures well.
This is a beautiful book about the wonder of everyday life, and the surprising stories of the people around us. The cover illustration makes it look like "Because of Winn-Dixie" but this book is SO MUCH BETTER. It is a joy to read a children's book this well-written (but watch out for "hell" and replacement curse words).
And it's by Betty Birney, who wrote the incomparably enjoyable "Humphrey" series.
Parent notes: Written in vernacular ("could of", "would of", "haint"...), this book sports some questionable language: When hell freezes over. Gee whiz. Dang. Dang. Shucks. Why on God's green earth? By doggies. Doggone. By jiggers. Doggone. Lord.