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When The Root Children Wake Up

by Audrey Wood

Other authors: Ned Bittinger (Illustrator)

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1028203,700 (3.59)None
The Root Children, who have been sleeping all winter, awake to become Blossom Children and experience the new life, the color, and the joys of spring.



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This book helps the children use their imaginations in explaining the seasons. The pictures are beautiful, and look as if they are painted on a canvas. ( )
  malindahodgson | Oct 2, 2013 |
The fifth and final version of this story that I have rated and reviewed recently, Audrey Wood's When the Root Children Wake Up is a very loose prose reinterpretation of a classic German picture-book, Etwas von den Wurzelkindern ("Something About the Root Children") that was originally written and illustrated by Sibylle von Olfers in 1906. It is noteworthy, in that it manages to retain almost none of the charm of that original work, while inserting a great many disturbing elements, both visually and textually. I decidedly do not recommend this edition, although I am glad to have read it, as I think some readers may imagine that it represents von Olfers' work, after a fashion. It doesn't.

The original, which I have been fortunate enough to read, was written in rhyming poetry, a form retained in Mother Earth and Her Children: A Quilted Fairy Tale, which pairs a fairly faithful translation by Jack Zipes with quilted illustrations inspired by von Olfers' artwork. Prose adaptations can be found in The Story of the Root-Children, put out by the UK-based Floris Books, who (unfortunately) seem not to have acknowledged that their title is a significant adaptation, rather than a translation; and in Helen Dean Fish's When the Root Children Wake Up, which was originally published in 1941, seems to be the first English-language edition of the story, and does acknowledge its status as an adaptation. Both of these prose editions, although they diverge widely from von Olfers' text, do retain her artwork.

And then there's this book... Here too we have a prose adaptation, but the differences in storyline from the original are far more extreme than either the Floris Books or Helen Dean Fish editions, which were guided by the basic narrative laid out in von Olfers' art. Here we have Old Grandfather Winter, who does not appear in any other version, opening the story; we have Robin Redbreast waking the Root Children in time for Spring, rather than Mother Earth; and we have Aunt Spring, Cousin Summer and Uncle Fall all appearing as characters. Of course, as an adaptation, one could argue that these changes demonstrate that Audrey Wood is making the tale her own - making it into something new and fresh. Unfortunately, it's difficult to see what these changes add.

Then there's the artwork, done by Ned Bittinger in oil paint. Although I can't deny that they have a beauty of their own - hence the two stars, rather than one - they just don't suit the story, in my opinion. They're a little too creepy, a little too "dark fairy-tale" feeling to me, and that isn't what the Root Children is all about! Moreover, the Root Children themselves have been transformed into fairies, complete with gossamer wings! No! Worst of all, Mother Earth, who is an old woman in all the other versions of this story that I have seen, is young and beautiful here. Argh!

Do yourself a favor, if you are at all interested in this story, and pick up either the Zipes or Fish editions, mentioned above - this one just doesn't cut it! Of course, you may still be turned off by the cute anthropomorphism, but at least you'll be getting the real thing! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 7, 2013 |
I thought that this book was beautifully illustrated and written. The pictures are what especially caught my eye for this book. I read this to a group of children and they all loved it. I enjoyed how the root children were doing the things most children do in each season.
  hgold | May 31, 2011 |
This book is for PreK-2nd grade. It tells the story of Mother Earth, Cousin Summer, Aunt Spring and the rest of the family's journey to different seasons. I feel this book would be great for track printing and is easy to follow along. Also the pictures aid in illustrating the story. Overall, great read.
  brittneywest | Nov 15, 2009 |
Mother earth wakes up her children when it is time for spring to arrive. The go out into the forest and play and each season the new person brings the season on. Then when winter comes the root children go back to sleep.
Website: http://kindernature.storycounty.com/display.aspx?DocID=200511221046
  ldjordan | Nov 11, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wood, Audreyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bittinger, NedIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Root Children, who have been sleeping all winter, awake to become Blossom Children and experience the new life, the color, and the joys of spring.

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