Bound To Stay Bound

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Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 09/01/2010 Gr 1–4—Elsie, Boston born, loves the sounds and sights—and especially the songs—of the city, but when her mother dies, her father seeks comfort on the frontier of Nebraska. Her new prairie home is all grass and sky and silence and Elsie feels small and afraid. Her only companion, a going-away gift, is Timothy Tune, a canary with whom she exchanges songs throughout her solitary days. When the door to the cage is accidentally left open, Timothy flies free, and Elsie is devastated. Leaving her fears behind, she races through the tall grass to find him and begins to understand the sounds of the prairie and takes them to her heart. When Timothy sings his way back to her—just as her father returns from town with hens, a banty rooster, and a hound dog—Elsie realizes that, at last, she has found a "true prairie home." Yolen's evocative story, full of wonder and warmth, rolls smoothly along on carefully worded phrases, capturing the child's emotions as well as the flavor of the time and setting in a simple yet heartfelt way. Small's delivery, completely in sync with the author's, brings Elsie deftly to life. The illustrations, rendered in brush and ink with watercolor and pastel, realize both the streets of Boston and the grasslands of Nebraska with equal ease and aplomb.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 08/01/2010 After her mother dies, Elsie and her father leave Boston and join other pioneers making a fresh start in Nebraska. Once moved into a new sod house, Elsie feels housebound and timid, “afraid to lose herself in the silence of the prairie,” and she aches for the familiar life she left behind. She finds some comfort in singing with her pet canary, Timmy Tune, who escapes one day while Papa is shopping for supplies in town. Chasing Timmy through the sea of tall grass, Elsie listens to the songs of the wild prairie birds for the first time. When she returns home, she finds Papa, who has traded a quilt for a menagerie of new animals that, together with the wild birds, create a sweet symphony that turns “her house into a true prairie home.” Yolen’s long text will require patience from young listeners, but Elsie’s elemental feelings of dislocation and the words’ sensory imagery bring immediacy to the historical setting and are beautifully realized in Small’s mixed-media panoramas of the windswept prairie under a vast blue sky. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.

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