Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it looked like any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo -- but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.
In glowing desert hues, artist Barbara Cooney has caught the magic of Alice McLerran's treasured land of Roxaboxen -- a place that really was, and, once you've been there, always is.
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Alice McLerran was an "Army brat" and moved every year or so -- from Hawaii to Germany, from New York to Ecuador.
She still leads a gypsy life, traveling the world with her physicist husband and dividing time between their home in New York and their "dacha" in the mountains of Oregon. She's happy to visit schools anywhere! The McLerran cat, Shuwa, prefers to stay home.
"Children often ask me how I started being a writer, and I tell them: by loving stories. My mother made up stories at bedtime, and my grandmother was a story-teller as well. I always read, and read, and read. I think most writers do. One bit of luck, I think, was that from the first I wrote for others. Over the years I made countless poems and little books as gifts. When you write for real readers, of course you want to do your best."
Barbara Cooney is one of the most well-loved authors and illustrators of children's books today. She has won many awards for her books, including the American Book Award and two Caldecott Medals for Illustration. Ms. Cooney lives in Damariscotta, Maine.From School Library Journal:
Kindergarten-Grade 3-- This treasure of a story is about magic--the ordinary magic that every child understands: imagination. It is also a story about a treasured place: a child's imaginary town named Roxaboxen. The rules are simple: you make them up as you go along according to the whim of the day or the personality of the residents. In Roxaboxen, "Marian was mayor, of course; that was just the way she was. Nobody minded." The rules don't even have to be consistent--as long as they make sense. Speeding was not allowed by car but "ah, if you had a horse, you could go as fast as the wind . . . All you needed for a horse was a stick and some kind of bridle." With a true child's voice, McLerran uses just the right phrase or word to make the town and its residents spring clearly off the page. Cooney's brightly colored illustrations done in her classic and recognizable style etch the town and its inhabitants indelibly on the page as well as in the mind's eye. Her soft, personable little figures give the town and its story just the right feeling. This book celebrates how children and their imaginations make fanciful things become magically real and make them last forever. Don't miss it. --Jane Marino, White Plains Pub. Lib., NY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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