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Whitefoot: A Story from the Center of the World
Whitefoot is a field mouse, a small creature with “elegant whiskers” and a “reddish brindly tan” coat. She lives within a cozy enclave of family at the edge of the woods, where she knows, without a doubt, that she exists at the center of her world. What she doesn’t know is that not far from her safe haven there is a house, and a river, a world of such size and magnitude th ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Counterpoint
(first published January 1st 2008)
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I should begin by saying Berry is in the top five of my favorite authors, poets, essayists. I was intrigued to see that he was entering the children's lit field with this title. However, I didn't quite get the point of publishing this as it is. It feels more like a writing exercise than a finished work. It's gentle storytelling -- but a little too gentle perhaps, meaning I came away wondering what he was trying to say. If Berry wants to take a whack at children's books, surely he can apply his u ...more
A charming children's story of a mouse through a storm. There are a lot of bird species named in this - so families can spend time looking at flood plain ecologies in the American midwest and south and identifying all the other animals named in this tale as a follow-up activity.
This little book is written in stunning beauty. The words are elegant and though the story is short and simple, it feels rich. Though the story is one about a mouse caught in a flood, it does not resort to anthropomorphism, which is refreshing, and still managed to capture my 5 year old's attention and interest. I was worried that since it had no dragons or wizards or hero's with swords he would not be interested, but he quietly listened and talked about it the next day.
Jul 05, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it · review of another edition
Found at the bookstore where I volunteer, it's a surprise story of a mouse and her survival by the poet Wendell Berry. His poetry is wonderful, but I didn't know about this lovely story, illustrated in pencil sketches. It's told from the POV of the mouse, showing the needs and abilities of a mouse, with little anthropomorphism. It would make a good mentor text for older students who might research the ways of an animal, and write them into a story.
What a neat story. I love that Whitefoot is part of the Port William Membership. Rather anticlimatic ending, but fitting when you think about Berry's themes. This is well worth the quick read. Berry's descriptions of the local flora and fauna, and narrative voice are spectacular. Davis Te Selle's illustrations alone make the book worth purchasing. I got a nice used hardcover on Amazon.com for about 7 bucks. A sweet deal for a beautiful book.
Ennnh. As much as I love Berry's adult fiction, this doesn't really work. The book is just what we usually get when a talented novelist trundles into kid lit terrain without bothering to study the juvenilia classics and what makes them successful. That is, Whitefoot is pleasant but insignificant and instantly forgettable.
I thought this would be sort of an adult version of Miss Bianca, the lovely woodcuts also an adult version of the Garth Williams illustrations. But alas it was not. A good story that swept me right up but such a quick ending, disappointing. A beautiful moment that should have been more than just a moment.
Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."More about Wendell Berry...