Island Boy (Ages 8-12)
By Barbara Cooney
Puffin Books, Penguin Group
A wholesome family with twelve children moves from the mainland to make their living on a beautiful island. The father teaches the sons invaluable life skills as they prepare their land: plowing, planting, building stone walls, clearing land and handling a boat. The mother teaches the daughters the art of homemaking. All the children learn to read and write. The freedom and happiness that the children experience from living off the land is evident as the story unfolds. But one by one, each child grows up and leaves the island and doesn’t return—except for the youngest, Matthias, who longs to return and continue what his father started, using all the skills he learned. When Matthias returns, gets married and has children of his own, they in turn learn about berrying, cooking and making butter, soap and cheese. The wholesome cycle continues until Matthias has grown old and has grandchildren of his own who want to remain on the island and continue the beautiful upbringing. It doesn’t get any better than Barbara Cooney’s story line and breathtaking illustrations. She does an amazing job of demonstrating the importance of family as well as the value of learning to live off the land.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2023🖨️ Print post