Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thoreau at Walden

Thoreau at Walden

Henry David Thoreau
Illustrator:  John Porcellino 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel
For ages 10 and up
Hyperion Books for Children, 2008   ISBN: 978-1423100386

The people of Concord, Massachusetts, thought that Henry David Thoreau was decidedly odd. Not only did he change his name, but he rejected good jobs for what they thought were foolish reasons. Thoreau spoke of wanting to spend his life writing and reading, a life of peace and simplicity. He finally came up with an idea which would give him what he was looking for. He would build a simple little house in the woods where he would live and work and where he would not be encumbered and vexed by the superfluities of daily life.

And so began an "experiment" which would, down the road, have a profound effect on people all over the world for years to come.

In this unique book John Porcellino has taken select passages from Henry David Thoreau's book Walden; or, Life in the Woods, and he has coupled them with his simple tri-color cartoon style drawings. Using this format he uses Thoreau's own words to tell the story of what took place at Walden Pond. Thoreau's wisdom reaches out to us and Porcellino's art perfectly captures the essence of what Thoreau was trying to do during his time at Walden Pond. The book is very powerful, moving, and thought provoking, and it is likely that young people who read it will want to learn more about Henry David Thoreau and his writings.