Thursday, April 17, 2008

Anne of Green Gables

Book Description

The illustrations for this series were created by Scott McKowen, who, with his wife Christina Poddubiuk, operates Punch & Judy Inc., a company specializing in design and illustration for theater and performing arts.

Their projects often involve research into the visual aspects of historical settings and characters. Christina is a theater set and costume designer and contributed advice on the period clothing for the illustrations.Scott created these drawings in scratchboard ­ an engraving medium which evokes the look of popular art from the period of these stories. Scratchboard is an illustration board with a specifically prepared surface of hard white chalk.

A thin layer of black ink is rolled over the surface, and lines are drawn by hand with a sharp knife by scraping through the ink layer to expose the white surface underneath. The finished drawings are then scanned and the color is added digitally.One thing’s for certain, no house that Anne’s in will ever be dull.” That’s what Marilla Cuthbert says about Anne, the lively red-headed orphan she and her brother Matthew adopt. For decades, girls have agreed, eagerly reading every book in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series that chronicles Anne’s coming of age.

By Lawrance M. Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) -

In 1985 when I stumbled upon Kevin Sullivan's wonderful production of "Anne of Green Gables" with Megan Follows as Anne, Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla, and Richard Farnsworth as Mathew, it was my introduction to the Lucy Maud Montgomery's red-headed orphan.

Like millions of others, I fell in love with the production and then proceeded to read this novel, the other seven books in the Anne Series, and then "The Chronicles of Avonlea," "The Story Girl," the "Jane of Lantern Hill" books, and every other thing written by Montgomery that I could get my hands on (and this was before all of those paperback collections of Montgomery's short stories were published).

In 1904 Montgomery had written down an idea for a story in her notebook: "Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake a girl is sent them." In what must be heartening for many would be authors, Montgomery's manuscript for "Anne of Green Gables" was rejected repeated by publishers before it was finally accepted. The book was a bestseller from the moment it was published in June 1908 (I have a 19th impression printed in September 1910), although a critic in "The New York Times" complained that, "there is no real difference between the girl at the end of the story and the one at the beginning of it." Readers of the book would quite happy with that fact, because the reason we love this story is not that the talkative, red-haired orphan girl with her big green-grey eyes changes during the story, but that Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert, the elderly sister and brother who wanted to adopt a boy and got a girl instead, have changed profoundly.

Mark Twain described Anne Shirley as "The dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice," and nobody has been able to top that statement. Supposedly Montgomery's description of her famous literary creation was based on a photography of Evelyn Nesbit, the notorious American beauty who was the mistress whose husband, Harry K. Thaw, shot and killed her love, Stanford White, in the first scandalous murder trial of the 20th century.

I suppose there is something archetypal about stories about orphans, that allows young readers to identify with such characters and explains why generations of children have responded to such stories. But what sets Montgomery's creation apart is her ability to provide of laughter and tears, what with her vivid imagination and her great desire to be loved. You laugh over Anne's over wrought apology to Mrs. Rachel Lynde and how her introduction to Gilbert Blythe ends with her breaking a slate over his head.

But then there are the wonderfully touching scenes when Marilla apologizes for refusing to believe Anne about her broach, when Mathew goes to town to get Anne a dress with puffed sleeves, and when the Reaper whose name is Death comes to visit Green Gables. There are just so many wonderful moments in this novel, which is the best in the series.

When you read the rest of the books in the series, this is the one you will keep coming back to again and again to read once more your favorite parts (I just did). I have two daughters and despite my best intentions I have never been able to persuade them to read "Anne of Green Gables." But given how long it took me to get around to them they still have at least a decade to beat me to the punch in relative terms, and I have the Sullivan productions on DVD so that I can use the same hook that worked so well one me.

Once they do I am sure they will be just as captivated by all of the others who love the Anne-Girl and who have traveled to Prince Edward Island to see all of the sites that Montgomery translated into the world of Anne Shirley.

My favorite memory is when we went to "Green Gables." You go in through the front door and follow the way around the first floor and then up the stairs to the second floor. As I was at the bottom of those stairs the young woman watching the door had momentarily stopped the line entering the site.

In this case that person who had to wait was a young Japanese girl, who looked to be about eight years old, and who was shivering in delight at the fact that she was standing on the threshold of Anne Shirley's Green Gables. That is how beloved Lucy Maud Montgomery's creation is almost a century after she was first set down on paper.

By Kathleen ( FaceBook Member )
I would recomment it to friends, in fact I have recommended it time and time again. Some people do not want to read it seeing the book as youth lit. But it is much more than that.

It's the tale of Anne, an orphan and how she arrives at Green Gables and how she wins the heart of Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert (sister and brother and owner of Green Gables)even though they had "ordered" a boy. It's a tale of friendship, and love and resilience. Sometimes it's sad, mostly it's funny and very touching. I really love that book.
You can View Kathleen's

More about this Book at...
Anne of Green Gables (Unabridged Classics)


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