Up North at the Cabin

Up North at the Cabin

illustrated by Steve Johnson
published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, May 1992
ISBN 0688097324
Ages 4-8, 32 pages

American Booksellers Association Pick of the Lists
IRA Teachers' Choice Award
1993 Minnesota Book Award Finalist

Book Description

From Publishers Weekly (starred review):

With evocative prose, Chall conjures up in her debut book the magic of idyllic childhood summers. Her creative use of language brings to life local flora and fauna as viewed through the eyes of a sensitive, enthusiastic girl—a moose stands "like a house on stilts," cabins are built with logs like "shiny pretzels." In unaffected vignettes (the book has no real story line) the young vacationer baits her fishing hook with peanut butter sandwiches, canoes "through the wilderness" and embraces the thrill of water skiing. Johnson's (The Frog Prince, Continued; The Salamander Room) textured oil paintings produce a breadth of vision that evokes universal experience. The artwork's smudged effect suggests the haziness of memory in conjunction with sun-dappled days and atmospherically conveys family quiet time mysteries deep within cool woods and the invigoration of outdoor sports. This great warm-weather book will surely be savored again when "frosted windows cloud the sun." Ages 5-up. (May)

From School Library Journal:

Chall offers readers a trip to the north woods through her carefully chosen words and Johnson's lush paintings. A young girl anticipates her arrival at the beloved cabin, experiences nature's wonders while there, and returns home with her fond memories until the next summer. Each segment of the child's narrative prose poem is accompanied by wonderful, evocative, full-page oil paintings of the family enjoying the lake and the surrounding wood. Up North at the Cabin is to Minnesota what McCloskey's Time of Wonder (Viking, 1957) is to Maine. To read it is to feel the summer breezes—whatever your location, whatever the time of year.

ALA Booklist:

A special pleasure for those who know and long for quiet solitude, where you can feel in touch with the past and with a natural world beyond yourself.

From Horn Book:

As the young narrator describes her days in this best beloved of all vacation spots, the reader senses that it has given her childhood's ultimate freedom. Johnson's paintings provide stunning impressions of landscape and extend the text to its full potential.

From The Publisher:

The magic of summer, the call of the north woods, and the exuberance of childhood imagination combine here to create a book that will be treasured long after the last leaf has fallen.

From New York Times Book Review:

Marsha Wilson Chall spent her childhood summers at a cabin on a lake in Minnesota. . . . {This book} is an ode to that, to the untainted tranquillity of distant and rugged places where the water is cold and clear, where fish still swim, where moose wander in pine woods and where the cabin is so secluded that you bring in food for the week or the month because 'town' is distant, and not just in miles. . . . Ms. Chall has written a first book that tugs at memory and childhood without being overly sentimental. Her text has a pleasant read-aloud rhythm and imagery that will tickle children.

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