When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer by Walt Whitman
(Golden Kite Honors)

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Synopsis

Leave time for wonder.
Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is an enduring celebration of the imagination. Here, Whitman's wise words are beautifully recast by New York Times #1 best-selling illustrator Loren Long to tell the story of a boy's fascination with the heavens. Toy rocket in hand, the boy finds himself in a crowded, stuffy lecture hall. At first he is amazed by the charts and the figures. But when he finds himself overwhelmed by the pontifications of an academic, he retreats to the great outdoors and does something as universal as the stars themselves...
he dreams.
 

About Walt Whitman

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Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could; Madonna’s second picture book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; and the Barnstormers series. He also illustrated Frank McCourt’s Angela and the Baby Jesus and is part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. Loren’s work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Westchester, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com. Walt Whitman (1819-1892), arguably one of America's most influential and innovative poets, was born into a working-class family in West Hills, New York, and grew up in Brooklyn. His Leaves of Grass, from which "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" comes, is considered one of the central volumes in the history of world poetry. While most other major writers of his time enjoyed a highly structured, classical education at private institutions, Whitman forged his own rough and informal curriculum, and his brief stint at teaching suggests that Whitman employed what were then progressive techniques -- encouraging students to think aloud rather than simply recite, and involving his students in educational games.
 
Published November 1, 2004 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 32 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer

Kirkus Reviews

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it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” These sentiments are echoed in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer” (1900), illustrated here with warm, nostalgic acrylic paintings.

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The New York Times

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Drawing on Roy Morris Jr.'s ''Better Angel,'' which is as harrowing concerning Civil War-era medicine as it is affecting about the individual men Whitman encountered, Kerley conveys the great good Whitman did as well as the poetry this service inspired.

Nov 14 2004 | Read Full Review of When I Heard the Learn'd Astr...

Publishers Weekly

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Long signals the boy's growing awareness of the celestial vastness by progressing from tight, intimate images (the boy contemplating a globe) to large-scale panoramas (the boy gazing upward in awestruck reverie, the stars—literally—reflected in his eyes).

Nov 22 2004 | Read Full Review of When I Heard the Learn'd Astr...

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