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Barbara Cooney

所属教程:People in America 更新:02-23
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ANNCR:

Now, the VOA Special English program, PEOPLE IN AMERICA.

Today, Shirley Griffith and Steve Ember tell about the life ofBarbara Cooney, the creator of many popular children's books. Shedied in March two-thousand.

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VOICE ONE:

For sixty years Barbara Cooney created children's books. Shewrote some. And she provided pictures for her own books and forbooks written by others. Her name appears on one-hundred-ten booksin all.

The last book was published six months before her death. It iscalled "Basket Moon." It was written by Mary Lyn Ray. It tells thestory of a boy who lived a century ago with his family in themountains in New York state. His family makes baskets that are soldin town. One magazine describes Barbara Cooney's paintings in"Basket Moon" as quiet and beautiful. It says they tie together "thebasket maker's natural world and the work of his craft."

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VOICE TWO:

Barbara Cooney was known for her carefully detailed work. Oneexample is in her artwork for the book "Eleanor." It is aboutEleanor Roosevelt, who became the wife of President FranklinRoosevelt. Mizz Cooney made sure that a dress worn by Eleanor as ababy was historically correct down to the smallest details.

Another example of her detailed work is in her retelling of"Chanticleer and the Fox." She took the story from the "CanterburyTales" by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Barbara Cooney once saidthat every flower and grass in her pictures grew in Chaucer's timein fourteenth-century England.

VOICE ONE:

Barbara Cooney wondered at times if her concern about details wasworth the effort. "How many children will know or care?" she said."Maybe not a single one. Still I keep piling it on. Detail afterdetail. Whom am I pleasing -- besides myself? I don't know. Yet if Iput enough in my pictures, there may be something for everyone. Notall will be understood, but some will be understood now and maybemore later."

Mizz Cooney gave that speech as she accepted theNineteen-Fifty-Nine Caldecott Medal for "Chanticleer and the Fox."The American Library Association gives the award each year to theartist of a picture book for children.

She received a second Caldecott Medal for her folk-art paintingsin the book "Ox-Cart Man."

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VOICE TWO:

Barbara Cooney's first books appeared in the nineteen-forties. Atfirst she created pictures using a method called scratchboard.

The scratchboard is made by placing white clay on a hard surface.Thick black ink is spread over the clay. The artist uses a sharpknife or other tool to make thousands of small cuts in the top. Witheach cut of the black ink, the white clay shows through. To finishthe piece the artist may add different colors.

Scratchboard is hard work, but this process can create finedetail. Later, Barbara Cooney began to use pen and ink, watercolor,oil paints, and other materials.

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VOICE ONE:

Barbara Cooney was born in New York City in Nineteen-Seventeen.Her mother was an artist and her father sold stocks on the stockmarket. Barbara graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts inNineteen-Thirty-Eight with a major in art history.

During World War Two Barbara Cooney joined the Women's ArmyCorps. She also got married, but her first marriage did not lastlong. Then she married a doctor, Charles Talbot Porter. They weremarried until her death. She had four children.

VOICE TWO:

Barbara Cooney said that three of her books were as close to astory of her life as she would ever write. One is "Miss Rumphius,"published in nineteen-eighty-two. We will tell more about "MissRumphius" soon.

The second book is called "Island Boy." The boy is namedMatthias. He is the youngest of twelve children in a family onTibbetts Island, Maine. Matthias grows up to sail around the world.But throughout his life he always returns to the island of hischildhood. Barbara Cooney also travelled around the world, but inher later years always returned to live on the coast of Maine.

VOICE ONE:

The third book about Barbara Cooney's life is called "Hattie andthe Wild Waves." It is based on the childhood of her mother. Thegirl Hattie lives in a wealthy family in New York. One days shetells her family that she wants to be a painter when she grows up.The other children make fun of the idea of a girl wanting to painthouses.

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But, as the book explains, "Hattiewas not thinking about houses. She was thinking about the moon inthe sky and the wind in the trees and the wild waves of the ocean."

Hattie tries different jobs as she grows up. At last, she followsher dream and decides to "paint her heart out."

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VOICE TWO:

Of all of Barbara Cooney's books, the one that seems to affectpeople the most is "Miss Rumphius." It won the American Book Award.It was first published in Nineteen-Eighty-Two by Viking-Penguin."Miss Rumphius" is Alice Rumphius. A young storyteller in the booktells the story which begins with Alice as a young girl.

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VOICE THREE:

"In the evening Alice sat on her grandfather's knee and listenedto his stories of faraway places. When he had finished, Alice wouldsay, 'When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when Igrow old, I too will live beside the sea.

"That is all very well, little Alice,' said her grandfather, 'butthere is a third thing you must do.'

"'What is that?' asked Alice.

"You must do something to make the world more beautiful,' saidher grandfather.

"'All right,' said Alice. But she did not know what that couldbe.

"In the meantime Alice got up and washed her face and ateporridge for breakfast. She went to school and came home and did herhomework.

"And pretty soon she was grown up."

VOICE ONE:

Alice traveled the world. She climbed tall mountains where thesnow never melted. She went through jungles and across deserts. Oneday, however, she hurt her back getting off a camel.

VOICE THREE:

"'What a foolish thing to do,' said Miss Rumphius. 'Well, I havecertainly seen faraway places. Maybe it is time to find my place bythe sea.' And it was, and she did.

Miss Rumphius was almost perfectly happy. 'But there is still onemore thing I have to do,' she said. 'I have to do something to makethe world more beautiful.'

"But what? 'The world is already pretty nice,' she thought,looking out over the ocean."

VOICE TWO:

The next spring Miss Rumphius' back was hurting again. She had tostay in bed most of the time. Through her bedroom window she couldsee the tall blue and purple and rose-colored lupine [pronounced'loo-pin] flowers she had planted the summer before.

VOICE THREE:

"'Lupines,' said Miss Rumphius with satisfaction. 'I have alwaysloved lupines the best. I wish I could plant more seeds this summerso that I could have still more flowers next year.'

"But she was not able to."

VOICE ONE:

A hard winter came, then spring. Miss Rumphius was feelingbetter. She could take walks again. One day she came to a hill whereshe had not been in a long time. "'I don't believe my eyes,' shecried when she got to the top. For there on the other side of thehill was a large patch of blue and purple and rose-coloredlupines!'"

VOICE THREE:

"'It was the wind,' she said as she knelt in delight. "It was thewind that brought the seeds from my garden here! And the birds musthave helped.' Then Miss Rumphius had a wonderful idea!"

VOICE TWO:

That idea was to buy lupine seed -- lots of it. All summer,wherever she went, Miss Rumphius would drop handfuls of seeds: overfields, along roads, around the schoolhouse, behind the church. Herback did not hurt her any more. But now some people called her "ThatCrazy Old Lady."

The next spring there were lupines everywhere. Miss Rumphius haddone the most difficult thing of all. The young storyteller in thebook continues:

VOICE THREE:

"My Great-aunt Alice, Miss Rumphius, is very old now. Her hair isvery white. Every year there are more and more lupines. Now theycall her the Lupine Lady. ...

"'When I grow up,' I tell her, 'I too will go to faraway placesand come home to live by the sea.'

"'That is all very well, little Alice,' says my aunt, 'but thereis a third thing you must do.'

"'What is that?' I ask.

"'You must do something to make the world more beautiful.'"

VOICE ONE:

Many readers, young and old, would agree that Barbara Cooney didjust that.

VOICE TWO:

Many of Barbara Cooney's later books took place in the smallnortheastern state of Maine. She spent summers there when she was achild, then moved to Maine in her later years.

She loved Maine. She gave her local library almost a milliondollars. The state showed its love for her. In nineteen-ninety-six,the governor of Maine declared Barbara Cooney a State Treasure.

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ANNCR:

This Special English program was written by Avi Arditti andproduced by Paul Thompson. Your narrators were Shirley Griffith andSteve Ember. Adrienne Arditti was the storyteller. Join us againnext week for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice ofAmerica.

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