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The Resource Swan Lake, Mark Helprin ; illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg

Swan Lake, Mark Helprin ; illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg

Label
Swan Lake
Title
Swan Lake
Statement of responsibility
Mark Helprin ; illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Creator
Contributor
Author
Binder
Designer
Illustrator
Manufacturer
Papermaker
Printer
Publisher
Typographer
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
A young prince and his beloved Odette struggle to protect themselves and their infant daughter from the evil Von Rothbart in this adaptation of the classic ballet
Member of
Storyline
Writing style
Review
  • Gr 6 Up-- Visually this book is stunning , with handsomely designed borders , elegant paper, and an evocative small black - and - white illustration of two swans on the title page. Some of the 13 full-color illustrations placed throughout the book are more affecting than others. The emperor lying with his head propped on his dog and his pen between his toes, the rider standing on a galloping horse, and the two great swans with wings raised as if to dance are memorable images. The archer in the window poised to kill seems more shadowy than sinister, and the two lovers falling to their death are awkward rather than graceful. The retelling and adaptation of the well-known story is more problematic. The fragile story of a prince who leaves his childhood behind when he finds his princess, an enchanted swan held captive by an evil magician, has been adapted into a tale of the power struggle between an evil politician and naive rulers, with the lovers caught in the middle. The magician Von Rothbart is now the emperor's second in command and the real power in the land. The only enchantment is the pure love between Odette and the Prince that survives in the form of an infant daughter. The Prince's tutor, who acts the drunken fool in order to keep his post at court, tells the story to their child. The writing is skillful, with verbal images so strong that the illustrations almost seem unnecessary, but the plot is overloaded with philosophical musing about the quality of life and ironic descriptions of life at a decadent court. It is much too dense and sophisticated for children, and at the same time thin fare on which to pin so much for adults. A special purchase for large public libraries because of interest in the two creators and as a lovely example of book making. --Amy Kellman, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • In Swan Lake Helprin spins a story as elegant and beautiful as the swan that graces the book's cover; white as pages in a book, the bird glides halfway between earth and sky where illusion and reality intermingle. In language that is wise without being didactic and musical without being affected, Helprin tells of tragedy transcended by love and memory. Unlike the recent Fonteyn/Hyman version (HBJ) that faithfully recounted the famous ballet, Helprin's Swan Lake , while retaining some of the details of the familiar story, enlarges both its plot and vision. Helprin's characters are not governed by magical enchantments but by human nature and the qualities inherent in them as individuals. The Prince, having sworn to be faithful to Odette and the world of beauty and nature she represents, is beguiled by the glitter of civilization and by "webs of obligation" to betray her. Odette is not portrayed literally as a swan, but as she and the Prince leap to their deaths they fall "in smooth dampened curves that promised flight." Helprin's complex tale within a tale, like C. S. Lewis's Narnia books, will be a welcome challenge for young readers. The story is focused in part upon the Prince and his Odette but also upon the characters who love and remember them: the Prince's curmudgeonly tutor and a girl who discovers that she is their daughter. The tutor's leisurely narrative is sprinkled with humor and philosophy and often interrupted by the girl, who learns what it means to be "conquered by the world of the heart and all the possibilities therein." In his Van Allsburg's richly colored paintings, Van Allsburg has chosen to sometimes depict sometimes inconsequential moments from the story. The villain, Von Rothbart, e.g., is not pictured at all, while an entire page is devoted to the insignificant "academy of truffle-hunting pigs." The 16 paintings, extraordinary in themselves, mark a departure for Van Allsburg, whose picture book illustrations in the past have been integral to the plot. Here, because the text is of greater length, he follows the tradition of earlier children's book masters; the light-filled paintings are set within like jewels that ornament and reflect the text without systematically explicating it. In Winter's Tale Helprin describes books that are "hard to read" but "could devastate and remake one's soul"; his Swan Lake contains truths "that take us beyond what we can reason and what we can prove." All ages. (Oct.).
  • An elaborate expansion and transformation of the ballet, by the author of a critically acclaimed fantasy/novel for adults, A Winter's Tale (1983). Helprin goes well beyond the familiar story. His narrator--tutor/father-surrogate to the prince--tells the tragic tale to a small gift who proves to be another pivotal new character. Additions to the plot include the murder by Van Rothbart of Odette's parents and the possibility that Odile is the prince's half-sister. And though his telling has the powerful appeal of a stark fairy-tale world, Helprin sets it in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and eliminates the literal magical transformations. His language is rich, ornamented, and full of ideas and images that are difficult as well as amusing, a playful mixture of whimsy and irony probably of most interest to adults--though capable young people may also find it fascinating. Van Allsburg's 14 elegantly structured paintings, spare and luminous, extend the aura of a world of the imagination, outside time. The beautifully planned book also includes Van Allsburg's ornamental designs on every page. Sure to appeal to the carriage trade, this should also win a small following well beyond this year's fashionable popularity. (Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1989)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
091188
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Helprin, Mark
Dewey number
[Fic]
Illustrations
  • illustrations
  • plates
Index
no index present
Intended audience
Middle School
LC call number
  • PZ8.H3697
  • PS3558.E478
LC item number
  • Sw 1989
  • S92 1989
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 6
  • 12
NLM call number
000089133
http://library.link/vocab/relatedWorkOrContributorName
  • Van Allsburg, Chris
  • Sherman, Susan
  • Baxter, Donna
  • Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Achorn Graphic Services Inc
  • Case-Hoyt Corporation
  • S.D. Warren Company
  • Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers (New York, N.Y.)
  • P.H. Glatfelter Co
  • Juvenile Collection (Library of Congress)
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
Swan Lake trilogy
Series volume
0001
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Love
  • Storytellers
  • Swans
  • Civil war
  • Tragedy
  • Sacrifice
  • Loyalty
  • Inheritance and succession
  • Ballet
  • Ballets
  • Fairy tales
  • Ballet
  • Civil war
  • Inheritance and succession
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Sacrifice
  • Storytellers
  • Swans
  • Tragedy
Target audience
juvenile
Label
Swan Lake, Mark Helprin ; illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Instantiates
Publication
Note
  • Chris Van Allsburg (born June 18, 1949) is an American illustrator and writer of children's books. He has won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration, for Jumanji (1981) and The Polar Express (1985), both of which he also wrote; both were later adapted as successful motion pictures. He was also a Caldecott runner-up in 1980 for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. For his contribution as a children's illustrator he was 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for creators of children's books. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan in April 2012
  • "Ariel books."
  • "Designer: Susan Sherman ; Manufacturing Manager: Donna Baxter ; Type: Caslon 540 by Achorn Graphic Services, Inc., Composing Room of New England ; Full-Color Illustrations: Case-Hoyt Corporation, printer ; Paper: Patina Matte by S.D. Warren Company ; Two-Color Text: Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers, Inc., printer ; Paper: Glatfelter Offset High-Opaque by P.H. Glatfelter Company ; Binding: Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers."--Colophon
  • Includes a list of illustrations (leaf iv)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm19397461
Dimensions
27 cm
Extent
80 pages, 13 unnumbered leaves of plates
Isbn
9780395498583
Lccn
89031269
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)19397461
Label
Swan Lake, Mark Helprin ; illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Publication
Note
  • Chris Van Allsburg (born June 18, 1949) is an American illustrator and writer of children's books. He has won two Caldecott Medals for U.S. picture book illustration, for Jumanji (1981) and The Polar Express (1985), both of which he also wrote; both were later adapted as successful motion pictures. He was also a Caldecott runner-up in 1980 for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. For his contribution as a children's illustrator he was 1986 U.S. nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition for creators of children's books. He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Michigan in April 2012
  • "Ariel books."
  • "Designer: Susan Sherman ; Manufacturing Manager: Donna Baxter ; Type: Caslon 540 by Achorn Graphic Services, Inc., Composing Room of New England ; Full-Color Illustrations: Case-Hoyt Corporation, printer ; Paper: Patina Matte by S.D. Warren Company ; Two-Color Text: Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers, Inc., printer ; Paper: Glatfelter Offset High-Opaque by P.H. Glatfelter Company ; Binding: Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers."--Colophon
  • Includes a list of illustrations (leaf iv)
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm19397461
Dimensions
27 cm
Extent
80 pages, 13 unnumbered leaves of plates
Isbn
9780395498583
Lccn
89031269
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
color illustrations
System control number
(OCoLC)19397461

Library Locations

    • Mount Angel Public LibraryBorrow it
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      45.068308 -122.797712
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      45.301909 -122.974741
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      142 NW Yamhill Street, Sheridan, OR, 97378, US
      45.100699 -123.395913
    • Silver Falls Library DistrictBorrow it
      410 S. Water Street, Silverton, OR, 97381, US
      45.003378 -122.781322
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