As a fourteen-year-old who just moved to a new town, with no friends and a louse for an older brother, Doug Swieteck has all the stats stacked against him. So begins a coming-of-age masterwork full of equal parts comedy and tragedy from Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt. As Doug struggles to be more than the Sskinny thug that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in Lil Spicer ”a fiery young lady who Ssmelled like daisies would smell if they were growing in a big field under a clearing sky after a rain. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon "s birds and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. In this stunning novel, Schmidt expertly weaves multiple themes of loss and recovery in a story teeming with distinctive, unusual characters and invaluable lessons about love, creativity, and survival.
John James Audubon and the birds of America : a visionary achievement in ornithological illustration
Lee A. Vedder.
San Marino, Calif. : Huntington Library, c2006.
"In tracing Audubon's quest to produce his groundbreaking work, Vedder draws on the artist's own writings and the latest scholarship on his life and on Birds of America. Plates from the Huntington Library's double-elephant folio are reproduced in color and accompanied by a commentary on the unique characteristics of the species depicted."--BOOK JACKET.
Under a wild sky : John James Audubon and the making of the Birds of America
New York : North Point Press, 2004.
In the century and a half since John James Audubon's death, his name has become synonymous with wildlife conservation and natural history. But few people know what a complicated figure he was-or the dramatic story behind The Birds of America.
In his magisterial Fine Bird Books, Sir Sacheverall Sitwell says of Audubon: 'There is nothing in the world of fine books quite like the discovery of Audubon. The giant energy of the man, his power of achievement and accomplishment, give him something of the epical force of a Walt Whitman or a Herman Melville...Audubon is the greatest of bird Painters; he belongs to American history.' John James Audubon's Birds of America, from which this selection has been taken, is the finest pictorial ornithological book ever produced. Unlike the drawings and paintings of his contemporaries, which were produced from prepared skins and zoo specimens, Audubon's paintings are taken directly from his observations in the wild, and the richness and directness come straight from the real world. No wonder that Audubon became known in his lifetime as 'The American Woodsman'. Audubon was unable to raise sufficient financial backing in the United States and he sailed for England in 1826. In its original form, Birds of America contained 435 hand-colored, aquatinted plates which were completed between 1827 and 1838. It was printed in London and bound into four double elephant folio volumes (measuring approximately 30 X 27 inches (76 X 69 cm)) so that all the birds could be illustrated life-size. Between 175 and 200 sets were produced, and the last complete set to come to auction fetched nearly $3,000,000.