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Jemmy Button

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  269 ratings  ·  68 reviews
A beautiful collaboration based on a true story.

Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali discovered a mutual interest in this story and overcame language obstacles with the help of translators. Jemmy Button, a native of Tierra del Fuego, was brought to England in the mid-1800s to be "educated and civilized." The book illustrates Jemmy’s adventures in England, his extraordinary enc
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Templar (first published 2012)
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Showing 1-30
3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  269 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picturebooks
Illustrations give pause to linger on each page. Large, over-sized, often full-page spreads without borders use silhouettes and bold splashes of color to draw the reader's to attention the big ideas in the text. However, the overall story perspective is NOT that of the child protagonist, but rather that of a "subjective" other explicating facts, which allows (even leads) young readers to infer a Disney-like capture, integration into European society, and uneventful return home with few emotional ...more
Vincent Desjardins
If I could, I would give the illustrations in this book a separate rating of 5 stars. They are truly beautiful. The two page spread with Jemmy looking out a ship's port-hole at the ocean teeming with marine life is spectacular. The spare text, on the other hand, left me wanting more. What happened to the real Orundellico (aka Jemmy Button) had to have been a traumatic event, one I'm sure that must have left life-long scars. The real Orundellico was taken from his people as a young boy and sent t ...more
Apr 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Such beautuful illustrations, but the story (based on real events) could have been told in a more realistic way.
MiKayla McLamb
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm-335
This book fulfills the mystery/adventure genre.

Jemmy Button is about a boy who travels from his country to another country. He finds new adventures and sees many thing while in the other country. However, there is no place that close to his heart as home is.

I think this book would be appropriate for 3rd graders. I would love to use this book when talking about culture in a classroom. I believe this could show a personal perspective of a boy who experienced a new culture but ultimately loved hi
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
A beautiful picture book inspired by a true story. Taken from his island home as a child and taken to Victorian England for instruction in the ways of proper living, Jemmy Button (as he is known because his parents were given a pearl button in exchange for him) conforms to society but only just quite.

Years later, when Jemmy returns to his island home he quickly sheds his proper clothing and attempts to relearn his native language for he knew he was finally home.

Gouache, oil paintings, and colla
Jun 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jemmy Button is such an important children's story. I'm now obsessed with Jemmy Button's life. I love the part in the book, when Jemmy gets back to the island and sheds all his clothes. It's such a beautiful moment in history and not many people know about it. I would have loved to have seen and experienced that. I also think it's neat that Charles Darwin was on the boat that took him home. I believe Jemmy Button and his people were kidnapped and I would have preferred that to be depicted in the ...more
Chris Austin
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I feel the illustrations throughout the story offer lots of deep thought and conversational points with the children, the idea of only Jemmy and his family being drawn with life like colour and all the European folk are silhouettes of varying degree, for me shows the strong link Jemmy will always have with home.

There is one page in particular I like because it discusses Jemmy wanting a cap and clothes. And the illustrations have him coloured and drawn in a similar way to the 'pets' of the Engli
Mar 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Captivating illustration. As an informational book, not so captivating. The account of what happened to Jemmy Button is unsatisfying and lacking detail of the effects of his abduction.
Edward Sullivan
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A beautifully rendered true story about an indigenous boy from Tierra del Fuego who is transported to London in the early 1800s, where he encounters a vastly different world.
Claudia G-D
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is based on the true story of a boy called Orundellico who went to England with Captain Robert FitzRoy from the islands of Tierra del Fuego in the 1800’s. The boy was nicknamed Jemmy Button because Captain FitzRoy gave his parents a button in exchange for him. Jemmy Button goes to England and experiences traditions and life in another country. The illustrations are captivating and show how isolated Jemmy Button feels particularly because the European people have been shown as silhouett ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kali ini mari kita mereview... Jemmy Button, Merupakan salah satu peraih award the best illustrated childern's book menurut NYTimes...bisa dibilang dari segi gambar juara ...dan dari segi cerita yang emak al tangkap sangat2 pengambaran literasi poskolonial yang pastinya masih bisa dicerna dengan sederhana, yaitu ; sense of belonging.

Diangkat dari kisah nyata yg sebenernya sangat ga friendly untuk anak...tapi mari kita lupakan itu.. Buku ini mengambarkan seorang anak yang dibawa jauh dari tanah
This is a solid story - biography, really. It tells the story of an indigenous boy taken away from his home land to Victorian England. The story is told in few words, but it is really the evocative illustrations in this book that makes this book great. I read this book to Gabby as last in a series of books we read that night, and by the time we got to this one, she was more interested in making up her own stories than listening to this one. However, these illustrations grabbed her imagination an ...more
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens, eli-s-1000
I loved the illustrations in this book; my 2yo did, took and had fun pointing out Jemmy on each page. But I was uncomfortable with the way in which the book glossed over the larger implications of colonialism and the ways that western exploration affected the societies that it touched and exploited. I know that this is a book for children, and I appreciate that the stories of lesser-known figures in history are being told, but I can’t co-sign a book that presents the story of white men taking a ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
gambarnya bagus, tapi ceritanya biasa saja.

baca gratisan di bbw hihi
Illustrated by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali, with words by Alix Barzelay, the book's first U.S. edition was published in 2013.

I feel deeply uncomfortable with this text.

The contexts of O'run-del'lico (aka Jemmy Button)'s story as told through Uman and Vadali's picture book feel wrong to me. While the illustrations continuously cast the British as faceless silhouettes (a powerful choice) and draw attention to O'run-del'lico in color and detail, the story resonates the colonizers' point of vi
Kaley Robinson
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal response - At first I thought the book was relatable that sometimes we don't feel at home. This hit home for me after moving out during college. It was more interesting after reading the last page saying this book was based on a true story. I liked that the story was true and that it was an easy way to understand history. The illustrations were colorful and used the whole page which really helped the story come alive.

Read aloud for enrichment
- students may be able to relate to
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adults
In this true story, an indigenous boy from Tierra del Fuego is transported to London in the early 1800s, where he encounters a vastly different world. Living on a “faraway island” a boy named Orundellico climbs the tallest trees, views the stars, listens to the ocean and wonders what’s “on the other side.” Strangers arrive in a ship, call him Jemmy Button and invite him to visit their land. Reaching the other side of the ocean, Jemmy finds houses made of rocks “stacked in towers taller than the ...more
Julie B
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
In exchange for a mother-of-pearl button, a young boy named Orundellico is taken from his home at the tip of South America and brought to England by Captain Robert FitzRoy. Given a new name, Jemmy Button learns ways of Christianity and Victorian upper-class culture. Striking collage illustrations show how Jemmy never quite fits in in England. When he returns to South America years later, he sheds his clothes and is home. His nature has not been altered by any nurturing in England.

I adore the ill
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art
The illustrations are beautiful but the emotionless, minimalist writing hampers the whole book. I did, however, enjoy the fact that all the Europeans are seen as indistinguishable silhouettes.

The following review puts it well. "The overall story perspective is NOT that of the child protagonist, but rather that of a "subjective" other explicating facts, which allows (even leads) young readers to infer a Disney-like capture, integration into European society, and uneventful return home with few em
Juliana Lee
Jemmy Button lived on an island far away. He wore no clothes, climbed the highest trees, and counted the stars in the sky. One day, visitors from far away came and asked him to travel with them across the ocean to their land. They gave his mother a pearl button in exchange for his leaving. In the new land Jemmy found people in unusual clothes, buildings taller than trees, and he learned their ways. Then it came time to return to his island home. Jemmy traveled back across the ocean. When he got ...more
Lynn  Davidson
Mar 07, 2016 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this story. It's about a real person whose life was drastically changed for the sake of research and study. I feel the details are skimmed over, which might be good for a picture book, but also what of the depth of the truth?
On its own, as a picture book, this is a good story. The illustrations are interesting and show the huge difference made in one boy's life as he was taken from his people to a completely different culture.
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jemmy Button is based on the actual life of a man of the same name who was taken from his home to be educated in Western culture and society. A collaboration between Uman and Vidali, the book provides the chance to observe the world through someone else's eyes. The book's stunning illustrations are colorful and graphic, and the collaborators turn what could be a history lesson into a compelling story for children and adults.
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
These beautiful pictures by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali are a fabulous "Eff You!" to colonialism. It's an absolutely beautiful book.

(Best enjoyed by post-preschool kids, I believe. It's a rather complicated topic to explain to younger kids. Especially when you have to talk about concepts like colonialism, imperialism, and rights of indigenous peoples... It's a lot to pack into a story time.)
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
so yes i really love reading adorable picture books.
a perk of my job.
i read them a lot.
don't usually review them. but i thought i'd add a couple i read yesterday.

omgh the pictures in this are so sweet and pretty.
and the story's good.
i do find it really really sad that the 'civilized' would take the 'uncivilized' and 'civilize' them. I MEAN SERIOUSLY.
(also, how many more times do you think i can use a word of 'civil' in a sentence?)
May 24, 2016 rated it liked it
There's alot of potential in this left unexpounded. The themes itself were heavy for a children's story (colonialism, identity, individual in society, family, loss, displacement, culture etc) and at the very basic level, simplified to "home" for younger readers. Personally would've appreciated more backstory, and especially interaction with the islanders, who seemed overshadowed by the disproportionate "screen time" the colonisers had.
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3rd grade and up
Gorgeous artwork. Lush greens of the island, muted and more dull colors for England. The art is the selling point of this book although the narrative is fairly well done. The story raises some unanswered questions though about European explorers/travelers taking "savages" back home. Jemmy is shown almost always somewhat apart from others as he learns about his new European home. In the end, Jemmy returns to his true home which was his native land.

NY Times Best Illustrated 2013 list
The Styling Librarian
Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman & Valerio Vidali – Fascinating look at a boy who was taken from his native land and brought to England to adjust and be put on show. When he returned to his island, he relearned his language and quickly adjusted to native life. Interesting discussion opportunities connect to this book. Why do people insist that their life is better than others? Should people interfere and take a native person away from home?
Dec 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: nf-picture-books
More interesting than the pages within the book was how the book was created - by two authors/illustrators on two continents who didn't share the same spoken language. I didn't know the story of Orundellico (aka Jemmy Button) prior to this reading. It gives me another perspective on living in two very different parts of the world.
Diana Garcia
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A haunting and beautiful book, with the feel of a parable, based on a true story of an indigenous South American boy who is taken from his family and travels to Victorian England to be "civilized". Unlike so many similar stories, the ending here is not tragic. Love the illustrations- charmingly simple and sincere- which remind me of Waber or Ungerer.
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really neat and informative story of a man who wanted to learn something about another people, but always knew where he came from and where he wanted to go back to. The text aligns with the illustrations fantastically. I thought the pictures were a little crude, but I think it was a way to heighten the nature of the story.
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Jennifer Uman is a self-taught painter and illustrator. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and in publications throughout the world. This is her first illustrated book.
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