Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Andrew Henry's Meadow

Andrew Henry's Meadow
Doris Burns ~ Coward-McCann, 1965


It took me a while to come to this book. I'd seen it a million times and bought it a dozen times, but never once had I opened it, opting to give it away or donate it, instead. (I think I even sold a copy once!) I don't know why it was a book that I would pick and buy, but it never made it on the reading pile. I suppose something about the cover kept me from being compelled to read it to my son. Then I saw this post by Jill two months ago, and it made me think again. I looked around the house and was surprised to find that I no longer owned a copy, but as is always the way in this line of work, it was only a few weeks later that I spied one at a library sale.

Needless to say, my son has requested it in his nightly reading stack almost every night since.

This is a great book. Perhaps one of the best ever. Now, an all-time favorite. It's so good that it makes me sad that I passed it over so many times. Scary when that happens. Makes me wonder how many other awesome books I've picked up and then failed to open. (I ignored her book Summerfolk, as well, but in the last year, that's become a favorite, too. Will have to post on that tomorrow.)

Anywho....

Until that spring Andrew Henry Thatcher lived with his family in the town of Stubbsville. He had a father and a mother and two older sisters named Marian and Martha. The girls were always with each other. He also had two younger brothers named Robert and Ronald. They were always with each other too.

Andrew Henry was in the middle. He was always with himself, yet he didn't mind.

He had plenty of things to do.


Now, see. I totally just got goosebumps typing those words. That's how incredibly awesome this book is. The things Andrew has to do is invent and create amazing things. A pint-sized Rube Goldberg, he invents a water machine out of hoses, wheels and wood that is a bird bath, irrigation machine, duck pond, toy boat tub, goldfish bowl and frog waterer, all at the same time. Much to his family's chagrin, he builds a helicopter in the kitchen, an eagle cage in the living room, a merry-go-round out of his sisters' sewing machine and a pulley system for his brothers that does pretty much everything. When his siblings insist his inventions are "spoiling all our fun", he decides to build his own house in the meadow where no one will ever bother him again.

And boy, does he build a house...

It isn't too long before another child arrives, toting her bird cages and sorrowing that her dad doesn't care for birds.

Andrew Henry builds her a tree house to beat all tree houses, and soon half the children in the village show up, all with different housing needs that Andrew Henry brings to life. He creates a docked fishing cabin for George, a dress-up castle with a moat for Jane, an underground dug-out for Joe, and on and on and on, until the meadow looks like a small village of its own.

I won't spoil the fun by telling you what happens when the parents and families get wind, but this book is an absolute must-have for any like-minded person who reads this blog. The drawings are brilliant and inventive and Ms. Burns has such a way with stories that magic is guaranteed.

It was reissued in 2005, and Jill also mentioned in her post that Zack Braff is working on putting together a movie version that he's describing as "if Terry Gilliam had directed The Goonies".

I know it's hard to make an honorable movie out of a beloved book, but that description sounds pretty damn awesome to me.

Aldo by:
The Summerfolk

—————

Read along on Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.

13 comments:

Lise said...

I keep thinking I'm going to write a review to offer as a guest post, and this book was at the top of my list. (You did a better job that I would have, though).

I've totally done that--passed up books I later realized were fabulous. Thank goodness you realized it while your son was still interested! :-)

Jil Casey said...

Doris Burn is great and her life story is interesting too.
Here is a link if you're interested:
http://www.sanjuanbooks.com/aboutdorisburn.htm

Melissa@Julias Bookbag said...

OK the universe is clearly giving me SIGNS -- we OWN this book and we've never read it -- I think it's time, and a friend just told me about 'Summerfolk', I kid you not, just 2 days ago, and here I read about it again.

momandsons said...

Doris Brun's book Christina Katerina and the Box is one of our families favorites.

Chandra said...

I need this book. Hope the library has it because amazon is temporarily out of stock.

Tad - ScientologyParent said...

Apparently there is a new version which is coming in July. I can't wait to get it for my kids. This was my all-time favorite book when I was growing up, and I hope my industrious kids grow to love it as much.

Lori said...

This book and Summerfolk were two of my favorite books as a child. Several years ago, I went on a search for them and paid handsomely for them so I could share them with my kids. They have loved them ever since and, even now at 10 and 13, they will still sit and listen to these wonderful stories. I am so glad to see them reissued so a whole new generation can enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

If you like her illustrations, you should also try a vintage version of "We Were Tired of Living in a House," written by Liesel Skorpen but almost as good as "Andrew Henry's Meadow." Both were read over and over by my six siblings and me. Burn is my favorite illustrator--a light yet perfect touch in fine details that realistically render the world from a child's-eye-view. Speaking as a fellow artist, her trees and woods are especially enviable.

Anonymous said...

If you like her illustrations, you should also try a vintage version of "We Were Tired of Living in a House," written by Liesel Skorpen but almost as good as "Andrew Henry's Meadow." Both were read over and over by my six siblings and me. Burn is my favorite illustrator--a light yet perfect touch in fine details that realistically render the world from a child's-eye-view. Speaking as a fellow artist, her trees and woods are especially enviable.

Read Aloud Dad said...

I'm so happy that you did open this book. It is indeed a gem. And it deserve's its place on VIntage Kids' Books My Kid Loves.

Andrew Henry's Meadow is one of those books you wouldn't expect a grownup to write.

Yet, Doris Burn somehow did.

Simply fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I avidly read both 'Summerfolk' and 'Meadow' as a child, and have always regretted not remembering their proper titles or buying copies of my own.
Thank you very much for reminding me of what I had forgotten.

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite childhood book and still inspires me today in my DIY housing remodeling and hopes to build a barn and kids' playhouses sometime soon. I love everything about the message.

It's only recently occurred to me: imagine the international news event it'd be when 9 kids disappeared from their smalltown American homes! And the scrutiny on the parents for their neglect!

Great review.

kopiluwak nya said...

marinir
http://bantal-silikon15.blogspot.com/2015/05/welcome-to-wordpress.html
bumbu-pecel01.blogspot.com/2015/05/a.html
seo-guru01.blogspot.com/2015/05/asf.html
seo-konsultasi-mudah.blogspot.com/2015/05/fgre.html
marinir-seo-konsultan-12a.blogspot.com/2015/05/asf.html
http://dfes12.blogspot.com/2015/05/gre.html
http://agen-seo19.blogspot.com/2015/05/wer.html
http://agen-seo20.blogspot.com/2015/05/as.html
http://agen-seo16.blogspot.com/2015/05/er.html
http://agen-seo18.blogspot.com/2015/05/rqw.html
http://jksbindo.blogspot.com/2015/05/rte.html
http://jkt-49.blogspot.com/2015/05/tyu.html
http://seokonsultan1.blogspot.com/2015/05/asrw.html
http://guru-seo-malang.blogspot.com/2015/05/arte.html
http://seo-aaa.blogspot.com/2015/05/rty.html
http://marinir-seo-8.blogspot.com/2015/05/rty.html
http://vvtiin.blogspot.com/2015/05/rqw.html
http://agen-seo17.blogspot.com/2015/05/rtq.html
asdf-14.blogspot.com/2015/05/qwr.html
bantaljkt1.blogspot.com/2015/05/qwa.html
larismanisyaluk.blogspot.com/2015/05/q.html
bantalku1.blogspot.com/2015/05/b.html
bantal999.blogspot.com/2015/05/r.html

http://distrobantal.blogspot.com/
http://bantalsilikon01.blogspot.com/
http://sabunherbalya.blogspot.com/
http://kesethandukmalang.blogspot.com/
http://bantalmalangmurah.blogspot.com/
http://restoran-seo.blogspot.com/
http://distro-seo.blogspot.com/
http://jualsangkarpleci.blogspot.com/
http://marinir-seo.blogspot.com/
http://kopiluwakliar01.blogspot.com/
http://bumbu-pecel-malang.blogspot.com/

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...