Leda Schubert * Writer and Teacher

Talking about HERE COMES DARRELL with students at Summit St. School, Essex Jct, VT. Photo: Valli Blanchard

The real Darrell, Darrell Farnham, who inspired me to write the book, moves a tree trunk from our pond after a wind storm.

He takes the trunk into the woods.

Guess who was the first person in the pond? Too bad you can't see this mud disaster up close.

Now available

HERE COMES DARRELL, by me, illustrated by Mary Azarian. Houghton. ISBN 0-616-41605-6. LC 2004000972. Follow Darrell through the seasons in Northern Vermont. The story is based (loosely) on the life of a real person, Darrell Farnham, a kind man and a good neighbor.

GOOD NEWS!!

HERE COMES DARRELL has been chosen as a core book for the Maine Humanities Council's "BORN TO READ" program. This is wonderful indeed. Thank you, Maine!

HERE COMES DARRELL represented Vermont at the Pavilion of the States during the National Book Festival in September, 2008!!

HERE COMES DARRELL was chosen as a Winter 2005/​6 Book Sense Children's Pick. Thank you, Book Sense.

Also in the shameless self-promotion department, I have learned that some people are buying HERE COMES DARRELL as gifts for their snowplow heroes, trash picker-uppers, mailpeople, road crew, and others who help us get through life in one piece. What a lovely idea. Feel free to do the same.

Chicago Tribune, 12/​18, Mary Harris Russell
"Darrell has a dump truck, a backhoe and a snow plow, and his neighbors rely on his expertise season after season. (Certain young, probably male and vehicularly preoccupied readers will already be dreaming of following Darrell's career path.) He's so busy helping those who depend on him that he doesn't take the time to mend his own barn roof, but its predictable departure just provides a time for Darrell's neighbors to show their good will. Written estimates and bills sent aren't spoken of in this world, but I don't think young readers will be confused by that at all, and grown-ups may just dream of such a community. Mary Azarian's woodcuts seem as essentially Vermont as Darrell: steady lines and warm colors against the rugged landscapes."


From KIRKUS REVIEWS, 10/​15/​05:
"Rural Northern Vermont is heartwarming through all seasons when neighbors help each other...... In this community, organic warmth emerges from action. Azarian's folksy, unpretentious woodcuts are hand-tinted with cheerful watercolors, bringing to life the four New England seasons and the friendly, practical relationships they can foster." c. Kirkus Reviews

From THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS, 11/​05
",,,Schubert grounds the story on kids' turf with evocative details ('It's so cold that Darrell's nose hairs freeze': 'Mud season has arrived, and the dirt roads are like chocolate pudding') and warm interaction between the handyman and the local tykes, as he hands out whittled toys and allows a youngster to 'steer' the truck. Azarian rounds the seasons with hand-colored woodcuts that capture both the heartfelt warmth with which Darrell goes about his tasks and the harsh but austerely beautiful conditions under which he often labors in his rural community. Kindness is a welcome theme any time of the year, and this unsentimentalized tale may inspire a few good deeds or long-deferred thank-yous." c. BCCB

From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL , November 05

K-Gr 4–A delightful tale about seasonal life in northern New England. The story opens in winter as Darrell layers himself in long underwear, wool socks, and flannel shirts, readying himself to plow his neighbors' driveways. In springtime, the man and his dog deliver firewood in a dump truck, battling with mud season; in summertime, when "the black flies are biting," he uses his backhoe on excavation jobs. Children will be captivated by the details of Darrell's labors, his machinery, and Schubert's imagery. When his truck is deep in the snow, the man "rocks the truck back and forth, back and forth. The tires swirl, the engine whines, and the back end swings…." As he moves through the seasons and his chores, he procrastinates about fixing his own ailing barn. The book ends with a roof raising, initiated by the neighbors he has helped throughout the year. Distinguished, detailed woodcuts illustrate the book. This is a strong addition that will be a pleasure to pair with many other books on the seasons, neighbors, and communities.–Teresa Pfeifer, Alfred Zanetti Montessori Magnet School, Springfield, MA. cSLJ

From BOOKLIST:
"Kids fascinated by equipment will appreciate the pictures of the plows and earth movers Darrell uses...Azarian's woodcuts are pleasing as always."
c. Booklist

From THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/​18 By Mary Harris Russell

"Darrell has a dump truck, a backhoe and a snow plow, and his neighbors rely on his expertise season after season. (Certain young, probably male and vehicularly preoccupied readers will already be dreaming of following Darrell's career path.) He's so busy helping those who depend on him that he doesn't take the time to mend his own barn roof, but its predictable departure just provides a time for Darrell's neighbors to show their good will. Written estimates and bills sent aren't spoken of in this world, but I don't think young readers will be confused by that at all, and grown-ups may just dream of such a community. Mary Azarian's woodcuts seem as essentially Vermont as Darrell: steady lines and warm colors against the rugged landscapes."



Now Available or Coming Soon (Click on each title for complete information.)

Coming in June, 2017, from Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press
New: Click for a pdf discussion and activities guide. (Look on left of page after clicking.)
A nonfiction picture book illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker. Roaring Brook Press, 2006
Holiday House, Fall 2011. Illustrated by Amanda Haley
Illustrated by Bonnie Christensen and published by Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press.
Illustrated by Andrea U'Ren and published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. March, 2010.
Illustrated by Mary Azarian, published by Houghton Mifflin 2005
Illustrated by William Benedict. Candlewick, 2000.
Serial Novel for the Boston Globe's Newspapers in Education