written by Cynthia Rylant
published by Harcourt, 1998
ISBN 0-1520-2480-8 (pb)
The world becomes an extraordinary place when viewed through the eyes of a scarecrow. They perch up high above gardens and fields, with borrowed coats and button eyes and pie-pan hands that glint in the sun. Wheat else is there to know about scarecrows? Perhaps more than we realize.
A Personal Note
The first time I read the story Scarecrow, I didn’t actually read it: I listened to it! My editor called me from a Starbucks coffee shop in San Diego, California, and read the entire story onto my phone machine. I loved it on first listening, but I kept playing the message over and over again, each time making little sketches on pieces of paper. These first sketches transformed many times before becoming the final painted illustrations. It took me almost two years to complete the paintings for this book and during this time I felt I had learned to see the world through a scarecrow’s button-borrowed eyes.
As I painted the illustrations for Scarecrow, I felt I had learned a new way to breathe while painting. Especially when working on the landscapes, a calm took over as I brushed the colors over and over one another creating light and times of day: dawn, evening, and night. I breathed in the changing seasons. I breathed and waited patiently for it all to appear. I became the scarecrow watching the world appear before me, letting the brush breathe life into the paintings.
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