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El mundo es redondo (Classics Revisited)

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Based on the imagined adventures of a young neighbor in the French farming community of Bilignin, this book tells the story of Rose, a little girl determined to find her place in the world.


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Based on the imagined adventures of a young neighbor in the French farming community of Bilignin, this book tells the story of Rose, a little girl determined to find her place in the world.

30 review for El mundo es redondo (Classics Revisited)

  1. 4 out of 5

    V Mignon

    A long time ago, back when I was in college, I had a rather strange professor for Modern American Literature. When we started on Gertrude Stein's work, rather than require us to write a reading response, he asked us to write a haiku. Specifically about how Stein's work made us feel. You can guarantee that every single haiku turned in had something to do with how incomprehensible Tender Buttons was. However, I will never forget one student's haiku. I didn't know him very well, other than that he w A long time ago, back when I was in college, I had a rather strange professor for Modern American Literature. When we started on Gertrude Stein's work, rather than require us to write a reading response, he asked us to write a haiku. Specifically about how Stein's work made us feel. You can guarantee that every single haiku turned in had something to do with how incomprehensible Tender Buttons was. However, I will never forget one student's haiku. I didn't know him very well, other than that he was majoring in both English and History. As his haiku was read, I realized it was yet another poem about how difficult it was to understand Stein. But it was far more playful than the rest. He wrote about how he was on a boat, fishing, and all he could reel in were words. They had assembled in ways that he couldn't understand, no matter how hard he thought about it. That's always stuck with me. In one haiku, he had defined exactly what an English major does when approaching a creative work. My initial reaction with Stein has always been to laugh. It's not that I'm laughing at her work because I find it ridiculous, but the liberation that her language exhibits has always elated me. When I see repeating words, names that double as words (Will he and will he; even Willie sounds like will he), the lack of punctuation, I laugh because . . . because I love it. I don't know why. But I do. I'm at a point where I realize I will never understand Stein's work fully and that is okay - so long as I can still appreciate what she did. The World is Round is, if you can believe it, a children's novel by Gertrude Stein with illustrations by Clement Hurd, who also illustrated Goodnight, Moon. It is a children's novel in the same way that The Neverending Story and The Little Prince are children's stories. Value need not be ascertained by age, but by one who can find all that is round within this world of Rose and Willie. I found the afterword by Hurd's wife, Edith Thacher Hurd, to be the most delectable piece of information. For all we talk of the innovations with young adult fiction, we never really discuss the staple in society that are picture books. During the 1920's, picture books were allowed to be a little more experimental. Margaret Wise Brown was the one who suggested that adult authors, like John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein be approached to write children's books. It's sad that Steinbeck and Hemingway both backed down from the offer, who knows what they would have created. But Stein replied that she had already finished a novel that was ready for publication. And thus, The World is Round was published in 1939. "I am a little girl and my name is Rose, Rose is my name. Why am I a little girl And why is my name Rose And when am I a little girl And when is my name Rose And where am I a little girl And where is my name Rose And which little girl am I am I the little girl named Rose which little girl named Rose." Upon reading about Rose's search for identity, I began to laugh. Because that is the way in which I understand Stein, is by humor. There is an inherent sense of humor to The World is Round, coupled with dangers of near-drownings and nights spent out in the woods. Rose is having an identity crisis upon realizing that the world is round while her cousin, Willie, is sure of his self. "He knew when he ran And he knew when he sang And he knew who Who was Willie He was Willie All through." Willie claims nature. He finds a lion and is so proud of his achievement that he gives it to Rose, who realizes she can't keep a lion. Rose is one who sees herself apart from nature. Beginning with the little dog Pepe, who bites her. It is a reminder that the vestiges of identity and rationalization have no place in a world of survival. Willie understands this, having survived two near-drownings. And so, he seems more at peace with the roundness of the world. But Rose must find her place in the round world. She must find who she is. The prose is of lyrical quality and while I did not read it aloud, I would make songs out of the passages which were then on repeat in my head. If there is one thing that you can always take away from Stein's writing, it is the rhythm of language. I can see how this would captivate not only adults, but children as well. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who feels this way, but Clement Hurd's artwork seemed very lonely to me. There's something about it. Is it the faceless faces? Is it that no matter how hard Rose strives to discover who she is and where there will be a there there for her, she can never be identified by facial qualities? I can't tell you what it is, as I can't tell you exactly why Stein's work delights me so, but there is something very haunting about it. Rose claims existence through artwork, much as Stein did as well. She is proclaiming her existence, writing "A Rose is a Rose is a Rose . . ." on the tree. And it is in this way that we try to refute the inexorability of the world with our existence. We have created. We have triumphed the anonymity of the world. But we have not. If there is an image that defines this thought, it is in the beginning of Lars von Trier's Melancholia and watching Pieter Bruegel's The Hunters in the Snow burn away into dust. Art will not save us. It can console us. But it will not save us. Upon finding her place in the world, a hill of all places, Rose is at peace momentarily. We are reminded with the following illustration that the world is still round. And with this discovery comes another discovery: that Willie is not her cousin after all and that Rose is free to marry him. It is a reminder that all life is cyclical - perhaps Rose will have a little Rose who will wonder who she is. Perhaps she too will carry that one object that defines her, a blue chair, and realize that she loves the color blue because it is also the color of her eyes. This is Stein's work at its most accessible. Even if you don't understand anything going on, it's a pleasure to read. Although, if you're asking me, I think all of Stein's writing is a pleasure to read. Her experimental spirit is held in place by that backbone of creativity: play. Here's to many more readings of this in the future, hopefully out-loud.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Well, Gertrude Stein wrote a children's book. “Don’t bother about the commas which aren’t there, read the words. Don’t worry about the sense that is there, read the words. If you have any trouble, read faster and faster until you don’t.” Well, Gertrude Stein wrote a children's book. “Don’t bother about the commas which aren’t there, read the words. Don’t worry about the sense that is there, read the words. If you have any trouble, read faster and faster until you don’t.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve!

    I've tried to read other works by Gertrude Stein, but have found them un-engaging. And then there's this book. It's probably one of my favorite three or four books of all time. It's really not like anything else Stein ever wrote and to file it under "children's literature" is unfair, because there's just as much here (probably more) for adults than there is for kids. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but as other reviewers have said, it's about self-determination, finding your place in the I've tried to read other works by Gertrude Stein, but have found them un-engaging. And then there's this book. It's probably one of my favorite three or four books of all time. It's really not like anything else Stein ever wrote and to file it under "children's literature" is unfair, because there's just as much here (probably more) for adults than there is for kids. I'll let you draw your own conclusions, but as other reviewers have said, it's about self-determination, finding your place in the world, fulfillment (and lack thereof), and what it means to be human. And all in a very simple story about a girl and a chair that you can read in about an hour. A brief synopsis: Rose, roughly six years old, lives with her parents and her dog. The first third of the book tells of her relationship with her dog and the neighbors' dog, and, also, her relationship with her cousin Willie (also about six years old). Willie acts brave, much to Rose's annoyance, but when he gets a pet lion, his true colors shine through. The rest of the book is about Rose carrying a blue chair up a "mountain" (more like a hill) that's not far from her backyard. That's pretty much it in the way of plot. The star here is the language, though, and how well it fits with the characters and how easily it relates feelings and thoughts that all of us have, at every age, through the eyes of a child. But not in any condescending way. Which is why this book is so great. Stein succeeds in leaving herself out of it. It doesn't feel like it's written by an adult trying to see the world again through the eyes of a child. Instead, a six year old child is telling you this story, and she's trying to figure out what it means to be alive.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Hermien

    I was delighted by this little book, and that is even without the illustrations.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kunal Sen

    I am glad that I didn't read this book as a child, because I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much. The writing is incredibly beautiful. I think we all have a Rose in us, who is trying to go somewhere, but when we reach there, we realize that there is not there. I am glad that I didn't read this book as a child, because I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much. The writing is incredibly beautiful. I think we all have a Rose in us, who is trying to go somewhere, but when we reach there, we realize that there is not there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

    Ugh. Painful.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

    NO - you cannot put this book down and just walk away. Ever wonder who you are? "Who am I?" This book should open your eyes. Not a hard read but a fun, easy read to make you think a bit. First published in 1939. So, now you know it is not a NEW book but a 'refreshed' book that is, I think made for children AND adults. This book is just over 100 pages, kinda like a fill-in between the serious books that you read. You will get to know Rose, Willie and Billie. BUT ROSE IS A ROSE. AND yes, got this NO - you cannot put this book down and just walk away. Ever wonder who you are? "Who am I?" This book should open your eyes. Not a hard read but a fun, easy read to make you think a bit. First published in 1939. So, now you know it is not a NEW book but a 'refreshed' book that is, I think made for children AND adults. This book is just over 100 pages, kinda like a fill-in between the serious books that you read. You will get to know Rose, Willie and Billie. BUT ROSE IS A ROSE. AND yes, got this book free from Goodreads.com and the Author.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leah Coffin

    Not sure if I liked or disliked this book. It was kind of a thing that happened.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J. Alfred

    Gertrude Stein is a genius and this is a kids book (?) or at least, it is certainly a book, written by her, with illustrations by the great Clement Hurd. The 75th anniversary edition also features a long essay by Hurd's wife, which gives all kinds of good information about Stein herself and the world of children's literature, back when that was an emerging genre. This tells me, among other things, that there were carpets and wallpapers done featuring Hurd's illustrations for this book. A google Gertrude Stein is a genius and this is a kids book (?) or at least, it is certainly a book, written by her, with illustrations by the great Clement Hurd. The 75th anniversary edition also features a long essay by Hurd's wife, which gives all kinds of good information about Stein herself and the world of children's literature, back when that was an emerging genre. This tells me, among other things, that there were carpets and wallpapers done featuring Hurd's illustrations for this book. A google search or two has not found me any variants of these that I can purchase, and I am disappointed. Where, I ask, is the entrepreneurial vigor of the internet? Somebody make this happen immediately. Harrumph.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ⓟⓔⓐⓒⓗⓨ Ⓚⓔⓔⓝ Ⓡⓔⓐⓓⓢ

    I read this book such a long time ago. It's such an interesting book that has a voice of its own. Hurt does wonderful illustrations and Stein gives the main character a different look at the world. Defenilty a bit confusing. I read this book such a long time ago. It's such an interesting book that has a voice of its own. Hurt does wonderful illustrations and Stein gives the main character a different look at the world. Defenilty a bit confusing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Illiterate

    A child’s questions, songs, and explorations of world and self. Stein’s style suits children, and writing for children curbs her pretentiousness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I don't think Gertrude Stein is for me. The packaging of the book was beautiful! The art was fantastic. However, the blue type on pink paper really strained my eyes. I don't think Gertrude Stein is for me. The packaging of the book was beautiful! The art was fantastic. However, the blue type on pink paper really strained my eyes.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Vivek Shroff

    Very famous book. Offbeat. Frankly, not my cup of tea.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kris Dersch

    I have a lot of trouble figuring out how to classify this one. I liked it...it's whimsical and sweet and I found the playing with language delectable. But it is long for a kids' book...I wish I had gotten through it in one setting and I'm not sure I'd totally classify it as a kids' book. But I also would totally encourage sharing it with kids because I think it will totally encourage their own writing and drawing and dreaming. In some ways, Stein is a fabulous author for kids because once you ge I have a lot of trouble figuring out how to classify this one. I liked it...it's whimsical and sweet and I found the playing with language delectable. But it is long for a kids' book...I wish I had gotten through it in one setting and I'm not sure I'd totally classify it as a kids' book. But I also would totally encourage sharing it with kids because I think it will totally encourage their own writing and drawing and dreaming. In some ways, Stein is a fabulous author for kids because once you get past the pretense the playing with language is pleasing to the ear and fun to read out loud. Overall, super glad I read it, super glad it exists, but I can see how this is not going to be for everyone. But if no literary experimentation exists, where are we really?

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dorrit

    Brilliant. Brilliant.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Books in Search of Children: reports from children: 12 yo boy 'relaxing' another 'the use of words has you laughing till your sides ache.' another 'much more *human* than most books.' 13 yo girl 'I think Rose and Willie are wonderful. I like people who really feel things inside, and adore the way they express themselves in their wonderful songs.' another 13 yo girl 'the story is simple and dreamy. You can forget yourself and live in a separate world while you are reading it.' younger child 'I love th Books in Search of Children: reports from children: 12 yo boy 'relaxing' another 'the use of words has you laughing till your sides ache.' another 'much more *human* than most books.' 13 yo girl 'I think Rose and Willie are wonderful. I like people who really feel things inside, and adore the way they express themselves in their wonderful songs.' another 13 yo girl 'the story is simple and dreamy. You can forget yourself and live in a separate world while you are reading it.' younger child 'I love the new style writing because it is the way I, or any other child, would think and write.' "Of course there were also children who thought 'dumb.'" Ok, so now I've read it. Thank goodness I had this new edition, with plenty of notes. I did manage to read, *aloud*, the whole thing, and hear the 'music' of it, but I still didn't enjoy it much. It had a little bit of Ruth Krauss vibe to it, and maybe even a bit of Mr. God This is Anna, but only if you're immediately familiar with those will my comment mean anything to you. It's not "difficult." In that I agree with the commentators. But it is personal; iow it appeals to some readers and not others. If you're artistic, sensitive, philosophical, you're likely to appreciate it more than I did. I'm generally more pragmatic, and I value logic and stoicism, so, um, well, let's just say that I'm not the intended audience, I didn't manage to feel enriched, and I don't feel as if I can rate it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    mandy

    an amazing book that is part children's story, part existential journey---Rose is on a quest to discover if she would still be Rose if she had a different name. Wonderful illustrations and a great sing-song writing style by Gertrude Stein.... "Rose was her name and would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose. She used to think and then she used to think again. Would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose and would she have been Rose if she had been a twin. Rose was her name all an amazing book that is part children's story, part existential journey---Rose is on a quest to discover if she would still be Rose if she had a different name. Wonderful illustrations and a great sing-song writing style by Gertrude Stein.... "Rose was her name and would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose. She used to think and then she used to think again. Would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose and would she have been Rose if she had been a twin. Rose was her name all the same and her father's name was Bob and her mother's name was Kate and her uncle's name was William and her aunt's name was Gloria and her grandmother's name was Lucy. They all had names and her name was Rose, but would she have been she used to cry about it would she have been Rose if her name had not been Rose. I tell you at this time the world was all round and you could go on it around and around."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mae

    a rose is a rose is a rose. Gertrude Stein loved to say and to use this. This fascinating little book written by Gertrude Stein and illustrated by Clement Hurd is a beautiful looking book, printed in rose colored pages and blue lettering. Meant as a children book, I found the book is better as a collectors item. An item of an era, and the example of a daring and innovative author. One cannot escape the modernist feeling of this book. I almost want to rip its pages out and frame them. The actual s a rose is a rose is a rose. Gertrude Stein loved to say and to use this. This fascinating little book written by Gertrude Stein and illustrated by Clement Hurd is a beautiful looking book, printed in rose colored pages and blue lettering. Meant as a children book, I found the book is better as a collectors item. An item of an era, and the example of a daring and innovative author. One cannot escape the modernist feeling of this book. I almost want to rip its pages out and frame them. The actual story has various levels and is a good exercise for reading out loud. I don't have small children anymore, but I think my kids would have appreciate a couple of evenings of this book read out loud. Its got rhythm and musicality, but the jury is still out as far as the story is concerned. I may review this entry after I read it to a child.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Lada

    Having just finished reading Antoine De Saint Exupery's "The Little Prince", I found myself reading yet another story for both children and adults that approaches a wonder-filled child and their search for who they are or where they belong. "A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose" is a popular Stein-ism that finds itself encircling a trunk when Rose, the main character, becomes slightly overwhelmed by her journey up a mountain. Not to be cryptic, but I certainly found this trek up a mountain to al Having just finished reading Antoine De Saint Exupery's "The Little Prince", I found myself reading yet another story for both children and adults that approaches a wonder-filled child and their search for who they are or where they belong. "A Rose is a Rose is a Rose is a Rose" is a popular Stein-ism that finds itself encircling a trunk when Rose, the main character, becomes slightly overwhelmed by her journey up a mountain. Not to be cryptic, but I certainly found this trek up a mountain to also be death. Once she gets up to the mountain to sit in her blue chair, she tries very hard to stay in that chair. She sees a bright light. I'll admit, the ending was abrupt and convenient, but I enjoyed the read. Also, if you plan on reading this book, don't forget Stein's modernist writing full of puns, rhymes, endless repetition, and lack of proper punctuation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cashman

    I love Gertrude Stein. I learned to write from reading Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, so there is a sense of gratitude and wonderment and pleasure here that I won't ever outgrow. That said, there is much Stein I have not read and I haven't read any Stein in a while. This one is a children's book, and I really want to use it literally as that: when I finish it, I want to send it to my mother-in-law and ask, beg, plead, with her to read it aloud to her grandchildren. The prose has all the non-l I love Gertrude Stein. I learned to write from reading Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein, so there is a sense of gratitude and wonderment and pleasure here that I won't ever outgrow. That said, there is much Stein I have not read and I haven't read any Stein in a while. This one is a children's book, and I really want to use it literally as that: when I finish it, I want to send it to my mother-in-law and ask, beg, plead, with her to read it aloud to her grandchildren. The prose has all the non-linearity of children telling a story and there is something captivating about this non-goal-oriented experience of literature, as of the world, that needs to be encouraged and enjoyed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Raena Mceuin

    A compilation of poetry layered with angular minimalist pink and blue world makes this book a visually appealing abstract exploration. Gertrude Stein has a mind of note as well, and I was surprised to find that she had written a children's book. I think the elements of this book expose kids to the specificity and meticulousness poetry and prose can embody, and I would use this book to explore the world she created. The format varies from paragraph to short quips. It resembles a folk-tale in it's A compilation of poetry layered with angular minimalist pink and blue world makes this book a visually appealing abstract exploration. Gertrude Stein has a mind of note as well, and I was surprised to find that she had written a children's book. I think the elements of this book expose kids to the specificity and meticulousness poetry and prose can embody, and I would use this book to explore the world she created. The format varies from paragraph to short quips. It resembles a folk-tale in it's general characters, plot line, so we would read through the book and determine elements that fall into their respective genres. 3rd grade.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hallie

    Yeah, turns out I don't think I like Stein. Stream-of-consciousness generally drives me up a wall, especially when it's a story told as though by a four-year-old who just learned about the concept of rhyme and can't keep track of their own plot. It's all obviously intentional! But not for me. Plus, “Don’t bother about the commas which aren’t there, read the words. Don’t worry about the sense that is there, read the words. If you have any trouble, read faster and faster until you don’t.” is appar Yeah, turns out I don't think I like Stein. Stream-of-consciousness generally drives me up a wall, especially when it's a story told as though by a four-year-old who just learned about the concept of rhyme and can't keep track of their own plot. It's all obviously intentional! But not for me. Plus, “Don’t bother about the commas which aren’t there, read the words. Don’t worry about the sense that is there, read the words. If you have any trouble, read faster and faster until you don’t.” is apparently Stein's recommendation for reading this book, which is just a giant cop-out. I bristle at that super self-indulgent, floofy BS.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Limairy

    A very cute book intended to be for children but An adult can love it just as much, I did! The book is about a little girl named Rose who questions who she is & tries to find out who she is. At first the language can be a little annoying and repetitive but you get used to it once you keep reading the book and once you notice its intended to be read as if Rose the little girl was telling the story. Loved it & the hot pink pages with blue ink and beautiful illustrations are just the cherry on top! A very cute book intended to be for children but An adult can love it just as much, I did! The book is about a little girl named Rose who questions who she is & tries to find out who she is. At first the language can be a little annoying and repetitive but you get used to it once you keep reading the book and once you notice its intended to be read as if Rose the little girl was telling the story. Loved it & the hot pink pages with blue ink and beautiful illustrations are just the cherry on top! A very easy and fast read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    I read only half of it. I’d have liked the poetry fine if the story hadn’t seemed so dull. Rose cries at everything. Sometimes Willie cries like he’s Rose. Her favorite color is blue, but Willie’s lion that he gave Rose isn’t blue it’s not blue but blue is her favorite color because the world is round. Can animals come out of the ground? I wanted to like this book. Even Clement Hurd’s illustrations couldn’t save it for me.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A library book I thought needed to be added to our home collection. My daughter loved having this read to her. Rose is a rose is a rose lovingly on her lips. This was an absolute pleasure to read aloud and Clement Hurd's illustrations along with the bright pink pages and blue typeface made this book even more special. We'll be reading this one again and again. A library book I thought needed to be added to our home collection. My daughter loved having this read to her. Rose is a rose is a rose lovingly on her lips. This was an absolute pleasure to read aloud and Clement Hurd's illustrations along with the bright pink pages and blue typeface made this book even more special. We'll be reading this one again and again.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Preeta

    A children's book by Gertrude Stein, yes. Sounds unlikely? It's actually surprisingly lovely. "The world is round and you can go on it around and around." It isn't all just wordplay, either; the children in it are real and alive. A children's book by Gertrude Stein, yes. Sounds unlikely? It's actually surprisingly lovely. "The world is round and you can go on it around and around." It isn't all just wordplay, either; the children in it are real and alive.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Degan Walters

    An odd little book that doesn't really do justice to Stein's greatness but also (in my adult opinion) doesn't really appeal to children. In addition, I find the illustrations dated and vaguely creepy and the navy print on pink paper is extremely hard on the eyes. An odd little book that doesn't really do justice to Stein's greatness but also (in my adult opinion) doesn't really appeal to children. In addition, I find the illustrations dated and vaguely creepy and the navy print on pink paper is extremely hard on the eyes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    K M

    I only recently discovered this book, and thought I would love it. Alas, I did not. I think if I'd found it years ago, and read it aloud to my children or even my students, I would have enjoyed it. I only recently discovered this book, and thought I would love it. Alas, I did not. I think if I'd found it years ago, and read it aloud to my children or even my students, I would have enjoyed it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    oh carlyn what key

    this tiny perfect book maybe changed my life forever.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    ..."Rose oh Rose was as happy then as any hen and she fell on her chair and embraced it..." ..."Rose oh Rose was as happy then as any hen and she fell on her chair and embraced it..."

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