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Cover image for Barn savers
Barn savers
1st ed.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press, 1999 (China)
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Baldwin Library copy inscribed by the author.
A boy spends a long day helping his father dismantle a nineteenth-century barn so that the pieces can be used in other barns and houses to live another one hundred years.
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Call Number

On Order



The barn is old. The boards are beaten. A hundred years of wind and rain have taken their toll. When you step inside, you can smell the hay and horses. It's a beautiful place, this barn, in its rugged way. But now it's time for the barn to come down. Fortunately, the barn will not be crushed by the blade of a bulldozer. It will be dismantled slowly, piece by piece, by the barn savers. The barn savers, a father and son, take care to save everything--the joists, the rafters, the flooring, theroofing. In this way, the barn will never be gone. Somewhere parts of it may live for another hundred years. This is the hope of the barn savers. Linda Oatman High's story quietly celebrates something beautiful and something old, as a father and son bring down a barn with hard work and respect. Ted Lewin's dramatic illustrations pay homage to the old barn in all its gray and weathered glory.

Author Notes

Linda Oatman High, author of Beekeepers and other books for children, lives in Narvon, Pennsylvania.

Ted Lewin has illustrated numerous books for children, including The Always Prayer Shawl, winner of the National Jewish Book Award, and Pepe the Lamplighter by Elise Bartone, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor.

Reviews 4

Horn Book Review

A boy works with his father to salvage and recycle boards and rafters, doors and windows--everything possible from an old barn. High's language and use of similes is poetic, though it is unlikely that a child would speak the way the narrator does in this first-person story. Lewin's watercolors are rich and detailed with a strong sense of light and darkness. From HORN BOOK Spring 2000, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Readers will look upon old barns with new eyes after they encounter this straightforward picture book from High (The Beekeepers, 1998, etc.). A boy and his father learn how to recycle old barns that would otherwise be demolished. Instead of seeing the old barns as waste material, the father finds beauty in the rafters and beams that will be put to use in building new barns and houses that may endure for another century. The father passes on to his son a belief that the barn is a treasure, holding secrets to the past that can never be truly known; therefore, it deserves to be respectfully saved. As the gentle story unfolds, the son takes away new understanding, but also a time-worn weathervane. Lewin's realistic, detailed watercolors portray both the hard work involved in recycling old barns and his own respect for such buildings and their heritage. (Picture book. 5-8)

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. Waking before dawn, a boy accompanies his father to an old barn. Their job is to save the barn from the bulldozers, taking it apart board by board so that the parts can be sold. The boy works all day stacking wood as his father carefully dismantles the structure. When they climb into the truck to head home, the boy takes the iron horse from the barn's weather vane to keep in his bedroom. Lewin's watercolor paintings, beautiful in their own right yet energized by the narrative content, sweep wide across the double-page spreads. The illustrations, whether moonlit or washed by brilliant sunshine, reflect the dignity of the plain-spoken, first-person text and portray the old building as a place of history and mystery, of light and shadow. Shining through both text and illustrations is respect for the beauty and integrity of the old barn, respect for the father's work of salvaging its parts for new uses, and the mutual respect of father and son, who share in a job worth doing. Classified in CIP as nonfiction, this picture book deserves a wider audience than it may find among children looking for books on construction. As one of the few picture books to show rural life outside the farmyard, it makes an unusual and effective choice for reading aloud. The lovely endpapers show different barns, as stately as castles. --Carolyn Phelan

Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A boy and his father work at dismantling a barn. "We'll recycle the whole barn...It'll sell like hot cakes: people building barns, people building houses, people building houses to look like barns, people fixing up barns for houses. This barn will live for another hundred years, in a hundred different places." Lewin's watercolor paintings are evocative of place and mood, and the text adequately relates what the "barn savers" are up to on this particular day. Readers also get the idea that the American countryside is littered with old barns destined for total destruction if they are not recycled or renovated. What the author does not make palpable is the individuality, history, or inherent aesthetic value of the structures and the materials of which they are made. Because of this scanty explication and because of the rather specialized subject matter, this book will probably not find wide readership.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.