Illustrator: Wendy Anderson Halperin
Finished : Aug. 11, 2008
includes CD with two songs
Last year, while creating curriculum for fifth graders on the literature of ancient Israel, I decided to find readings from the Old Testament and teach them using a musical approach. I remembered the Byrds' song Turn! Turn! Turn! and have found two picture books depicting it. In 1961, Pete Seeger took the words from Ecclesiastes, originally written in 250 BCE and translated into English in London in 1607, and set them to music. Wendy Anderson Halperin takes those words and creates a double page spread to illustrate each coupling of verse. All illustrations are contained within a huge circle and drawn using watercolors. BEAUTIFULLY drawn. I poured over each of them, looking at details and admiring Halperin's vision for each of the phrases. There was one drawback for me, however. To be able to view each illustration correctly, I had to keep turning the book this way and that, upside-down and sideways. It's a fairly large book with a dustcover, and it started to drive me crazy. Otherwise, it was quite lovely.
There is a full page note in the back of the book from Pete Seeger, explaining how he created this now-very-popular song. Sheet music is included, as well a CD that contains Pete Seeger's version along with the Byrd's slightly different one. It's fun to see the difference and listen to both sets of voices sing this song.