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9781554511204_cover Enlarge Cover
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $9.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
published: Feb 2008
ISBN:9781554511204
publisher: Annick Press

Mattland

by Hazel Hutchins & Gail Herbert, illustrated by Dusan Petricic

reviews: 2
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $9.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
published: Feb 2008
ISBN:9781554511204
publisher: Annick Press
Description

A stirring story about the infectious pleasures of play.

Matt is miserable. The subdivision where he now lives is surrounded by nothing but muddy fields of rocks and sticks. But when Matt ventures out, his imagination kicks in. He draws a muddy, winding line and names it Snake River. A pile of rocks becomes the Dog Tooth Mountains. Just like that, Mattland is born.

Soon a girl shows up with a handful of helpful odds and ends. Piece by piece, she and Matt expand their new world with popsicle-stick bridges and scrap-paper boats. And when a rainstorm finally threatens to wash everything away, all the neighborhood kids appear and help stave off the flood.

Evocative of childhood friendships and with sublime illustrations that brighten in color as the story progresses, Mattland is an inspiring ode to cooperative play.

About the Authors

Hazel Hutchins

From her home in the mountain town of Canmore, Alberta, Hazel has written over forty books for children of all ages. She gives lively presentations at schools and libraries across Canada. For more information, visit www.hazelhutchins.net.
Author profile page >

Gail Herbert’s first collaboration with Hazel Hutchins produced the award-winning picture book, Mattland. Gail lives with her husband near Cambridge, Ontario.

Author profile page >

Gail Herbert’s first collaboration with Hazel Hutchins produced the award-winning picture book, Mattland. Gail lives with her husband near Cambridge, Ontario.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
5 to 8
Grade:
k to 3
Reading age:
5 to 8
Awards
  • Winner, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, Canadian Library Association
  • Winner, Alberta Literary Award
  • , Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Joint winner, Best Bets List, Ontario Library Association
  • Joint winner, 100 Best Canadian Kids’ Books, Today’s Parent Magazine
  • Winner, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
Editorial Reviews

“The creation of Mattland is a riveting notion that kids will be keen to emulate.”

— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, 09/08

“A world worth exploring.”

— Canadian Children’s Book News, 10/08

“Sparse prose and skillful illustrations . . . will give young readers a sense of the experience of displacement.”

— Book Links, 01/10

“Lovely . . . successful on all fronts.”

— Sunday Book Review, New York Times, 11/9/08

“[A] beautifully imagined, beautifully executed picture book.”

— Globe and Mail, 03/24/08

“Has much to offer those who find themselves in a new place, and to creative souls needing inspiration . . . eloquent and beautifully illustrated.”

— School Library Journal, *starred review, 06/08

“A rich and multi-layered testament to imagination and the collaborative nature of play. Highly Recommended.”

— CM Reviews, 06/08

“One of those perfect picture books where text and illustrations brilliantly play off each other.”

— Quill & Quire, *starred review, 02/08

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Mattland

Matt’s family has moved three times, but this new subdivision is the most depressing environment he has ever lived in. He is surrounded by mud, water and leftover building materials. There is barely a climbing tree or blade of grass in sight. He knows no one. In his frustration, Matt picks up a stick and draws a line in the mud which fills with water. He decides to call the line Snake River. He then connects the line to a puddle which he names Turtle Lake. A jagged row of rocks become Dog Tooth Mountains, and tufts of grass are given the title Buffalo Grasslands. A new landscape emerges out of the surrounding debris: Mattland.

Matt continues to develop Mattland, now with the assistance of an outsider – a silent little girl who brings him popsicle sticks, pine cones, coloured pebbles and bits of tile. A miniature town springs up as a farmhouse, barn, bridges, houses, stores and a factory are added. When a rainstorm threatens to wash this microcosm away, a group of neighbourhood children, who have been watching from a distance, arrive just in time to help save Mattland from destruction – and to become friends with its chief architect.

Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert have written a moving tale about the power of a child’s imagination and his ability to transform dreary objects into uncommon attractiveness. Readers will empathize with Matt’s loneliness as he enters a foreign, friendless environment, only to transpose it into something quite wonderful.

Du˘san Petri˘ci´c’s watercolour and ink illustrations capture the transformation of a dismal wasteland into almost magical surroundings. The browns and greys of the opening pages evolve into a cacophony of brightness at the conclusion. Through the inventor’s eyes, Mattland no longer looks like the objects it is made from, but what the young boy imagines the objects to be. Petri˘ci´c illustrates from Matt’s viewpoint, the pictures showing his arms in front of him while he is creating this emerging world. In fact, we only see what Matt looks like, when his face is reflected in the waters of Turtle Lake.

The potential of a child’s imagination and the joy of cooperative play make Mattland a world worth exploring!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2008. Vol.31 No.4.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Mattland

Matt has moved three times with his family and he is absolutely miserable because his new home is surrounded by muddy fields full of rocks and sticks. When his imagination kicks in, it leads to his creation of Mattland and making a friend. This story is an inspiring tribute to the power of cooperative play.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

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