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Thoreau at Walden

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  780 ratings  ·  171 reviews
"I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship, but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely." So said Henry David Thoreau in 1845 when he began his famous experiment in living on Walden Pond. In this graphic masterpiece, John Porcellino uses only the words of Thoreau himself to tell the story of those two yea ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by Disney-Hyperion
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3.84  · 
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 ·  780 ratings  ·  171 reviews

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Jun 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Henry David Thoreau's words put into a graphic novel. The simple illustrations define his dedication to a life of simplicity. I liked it. Any other Thoreau fans out there?
Dov Zeller
I don't quite know what to think about transcendentalists. Do they truly believe in the benignity of nature? Or just its awesomeness? I can't say I dislike the romantic poets, but I don't agree with their idealistic, self-centered understanding of nature, and those guys are some of transcendentalism's big influences.

I guess I tend to think of Thoreau as a self-absorbed poet, an idealist, a guy who got to have a really awesome writing retreat in a cabin on a friend's nice, safe property with a l
Apr 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Credit The Center for Cartoon Studies with this much; it isn’t your everyday average run-of-the-mill comic book variety factory. I mean, any schlub can slap together a bunch of panels, paste in some vague dialogue and facts, and then create enough computer images to declare their product a graphic novel bio of such n’ such a figure. It’s much harder when you want to do something a little more original with your subject. When The Center produced Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow last year, th ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A graphic novel of Walden. The words are perfect, but the illustrations are so simple, too simple, really.
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it
"I rejoice that there are owls."

"Goodness is the only investment that never fails."

Nice summary of much of the man's philosophy, much of what he learned and shared that influences us today. Good at capturing the quiet withdrawal of the experience; as the wonderful D.B. Johnson says in his intro., Thoreau was not a hermit, but opportunities for reverie were important to him.

Includes author's note and other appendices.

I still prefer Johnson's picture-book series about Henry (drawn as a bear). But
Rob Baker
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Thoreau at Walden" is a rendering in words and images of some of Thoreau's basic ideas apparently targeted at gradeschoolers. Though some of the language and concepts might be a bit much for youngsters, the simple illustrations (entirely white and sepia, except for the cover) could appeal to all ages. My personal favorite drawings were of the owl :)

For those who have already read "Walden", this basic revisiting of some of its most famous ideas provides inspiring and welcome reminders....and ma
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this much more readable than the original. That being said, I tried to read the original a long time ago.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
this was a very good book. i thought it was a great read and the length was right. the book is about a man who us liveing in the woods neer waldon pond.
i gave it a 4 star rateing becaus itvwas a good book and also a good author. i enjoyed the book a lot. i recomend this book to someone who likes mystery books. it is also an easy book to read too.
I feel like this book gave me a glimpse into Thoreau's heart, rather than his head. Or maybe this condensed, illustrated version of Walden speaks more to my heart than to my head. Thoreau's words are here, yes, purposeful and stirring, but so is the space between the words, the quiet, transcendent moments that the telling alone has only pointed to.
Dec 26, 2018 added it
"At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature."
Kelly K
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, graphic-novels
Literally read this in five minutes but the simplicity of the lines made me happy. “You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you.” FUCKIN TRUTH. My fiancé and I used to sit on this giant rock by the river for hours and the geese would just float mere inches from us, eye us up and continue on their way. Never bothered, never attacked even when they were with their young. That’s the closest to becoming a goose I hav ...more
Candance Doerr-Stevens
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2018
I’m glad I read this book. Even though I found it hard at times to feel the depth of sentiment in some of the graphics, I very much enjoyed part 3 of the book and revisiting some of Thoreau’s observations on isolation, purpose and presence in our daily lives.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
I'm very interested in what Thoreau was exploring at Walden, and I find this simple graphic novel to be a very approachable introduction for people like me. The beginning talks about how this not only quotes some of the things Thoreau wrote at Walden, but it also captures some of the quiet, reflective moments that he certainly had (observing an owl, waking up in the sunshine, bathing in the pond) and integrates them with the conclusions he came to while he was there. I also appreciated the actua ...more
Aug 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino is a graphic treatment based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau. Using simple line drawings and selected excerpts from Thoreau's Walden, Porcellino retells the story of America's first environmentalist and his experiences living at Walden Pond.[return][return]The book begins with an outstanding introduction by D.B. Johnson introducing Thoreau to readers. [return][return]The body of the book is displayed comic-style with a mixture of captions and speech bu ...more
For students who are not familiar with Henry David Thoreau, or who want to review his reflectiond at Walden, this graphic novel presents his time there in four parts: 1) his choice to live on Walden Pond; 2) what he learned there about himself and nature; 3) the incident that inspired his treatise on Civil Disobedience; and 4) his decision to leave Walden.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation..." observes Thoreau in a bubble over a simple drawing of the Prologue. The text is the first
Nancy Kotkin
Story: 3 stars
Art: 2 stars

I'm excited to see a graphic biography of Thoreau, but am disappointed in the execution of this book. The idea to use only Thoreau's own words is intriguing, but the text feels choppy and incomplete to me. Still, there are some great lines in here, of course, since they are direct quotes from Thoreau's own writing (cited in the back of the book). I'm just not sure there is enough here for children/teens, who are most likely just being introduced to Thoreau, to grab onto
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I won’t split hairs, John Porcellino, author/illustrator of Thoreau at Walden was already one of my favorite zinesters slash comic artists slash graphic novelians before I got a copy of this book for my birthday. Porcellino is already a bit of a gift-giving tradition for my Dad, who has read “King Cat” for years, but this present was especially appropriate as I am working my way through the original Walden as I type (well, not literally).

Porcellino’s vision of Thoreau’s work, for me, makes a won
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 6th grade and up?
Recommended to Rebecca by: Kirkus
This was a lovely book! Although "graphic novel adaptation of Thoreau" doesn't seem like the most likely combo, it somehow works. The illustrations by John Porcellino are simple, Thurber-esque line drawings, and the introduction by D.B. Johnson provides a good background. "What could not be found until now are the countless moments of silence that Thoreau experienced at Walden Pond. Porcellino faithfully re-creates those moments of quiet reverie..."

I don't think I read Walden Pond in its origina
I'm on a kick where I'm reading all the non-fiction graphic novels (well, not novels, per se) I can lay my hands on. So when I discovered the Center for Cartoon Studies, I immediately requested all that my library had.

I own a copy of Thoreau's Walden, but I have yet to read it. This is a lovely introduction to it, with the segments carefully thought out as to which to include. Initially I was disappointed in the art, but then I realized that Thoreau would have enjoyed such simplicity.

I found t
Sep 23, 2009 added it
Shelves: 2015, comic-books, beyond
A wonderful primer. The author took a bunch of Thoreau's writings, reworked them, and distilled them into this lovely, thoughtful almost narrative. I'm an adult decently versed in UUism, comparative religion, mysticism, and environmentalism, and I found this a delightful reflection/rumination. Read it slowly and let it sink in. Look at each cell separately and feel calm. It's a pretty cool little book. It may be good for younger folks, too.

"October answers to that period in the life of man when
Jan 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book truly captures the essence of Thoreau's writing. Additionally, it dispels many of the myths people believe about him. As I am a huge lover of all things Thoreau, I felt like a lot was missing, but that is understandable based on the format. We use this as a supplementary guide for our lower-level and ESL students who struggle with his writing, and it is quite effective. (However, I want to note that I don't think this is geared toward lower-level readers--the visuals guide understandin ...more
May 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I agree with Kristin who shared this book with me.. I learned more in the introduction than I did in the book itself.. Thoreau did indeed march to a different drummer... but not as much as I thought he did.. I always thought he stayed at Walden Pond and thought about things.. but apparently he had a social side too... when I looked at the imprint of the book I see it is a company of the Disney empire.. sorry.. but that altered my opinion from the very beginning of what I might expect... for a 'g ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was one I picked out to read by myself as an introduction to Walden which is on my reading list. I was not a fan of the illustrations and found them a bit childish for my taste. My daughter found them funny so begged me to read this to her. I did but at the end she preferred the illustrations to the actual writing.
Cindy Dobrez
Aug 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked how the simple illustrations reinforced Thoreau's plea for us to Simplify! I think this will be more successful with readers who are already familiar with Thoreau and his writings rather than being an introduction, but I'd like to try it with students to gauge their responses.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
for me, the style of the illustrations did not match with the text. you have these beautiful, eloquent passages from thoreau against extremely simple and sparse line drawings. it just didn't work for me.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fine introduction to what Thoreau was all about. I have to find more John porcellino!
Richie Partington
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
25 October 2007 THOREAU AT WALDEN by John Porcellino from the writings of Henry David Thoreau; with an introduction by D.B. Johnson, Hyperion/The Center for Cartoon Studies, April 2008, ISBN: 1-4231-0038-7 (hardcover); 1-4231-0039-5 (paperback)

"That path is for your steps alone."
-- Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia, "Ripple"

"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

"I see young men, my townsmen, whose misfortune it is to have inherited farms, houses, barns, cattle and farming tools...for these
Matt Graupman
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are some things that, when you put them together, you get the sense that they were always destined to be joined. Henry David Thoreau and John Porcellino are one such duo; Thoreau, the transcendentalist nature lover, and Porcellino, the gentle cartoonist-visionary, were made for one another. Produced in partnership with Disney and the Center For Cartoon Studies, “Thoreau At Walden” brings these two kindred spirits together at last, with Porcellino’s minimalist, Zen-like art giving new persp ...more
Carrie G
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is an excellent introduction to Thoreau's "Walden"! The pictures are wonderfully drawn and clearly portray the awe and peace that Thoreau found in nature. The text has been carefully selected and edited. It provides a complete pictures of Thoreau's philosophy and beliefs while being relatively easily read and understood. The text gets to the root of the ideas without most of the additional exposition and elaboration. This will be a perfect addition to my introductory activities surroun ...more
Mark Schlatter
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
If I was going to choose someone to illustrate Thoreau's writings, John Porcellino would certainly be in my top three. I realize that some might dismiss his artwork as simplistic, but he's able to convey a sense of space and time beautifully. In addition, he has a clear love of nature (as seen in his King Cat comics) that shines through here.

This is a very short read (about 15 minutes for me), so unless you really want a comics version of Thoreau, I can see skipping it. The book has some nice ba
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JOHN PORCELLINO was born in Chicago, in 1968, and has been writing, drawing, and publishing minicomics, comics, and graphic novels for over twenty-five years. His celebrated self-published series King-Cat Comics , begun in 1989, has inspired a generation of cartoonists. Diary of a Mosquito Abatement Man , a collection of King-Cat stories about Porcellino’s experiences as a pest control worker, w ...more