Cover of The Originals by Jane Yolen and Ted Lewin

Originals, The

This book was actually Ted Lewin’s idea. We had done two books of poetry already–“Bird Watch” and “Sea Watch”–and he wanted to do a book about the earliest ancestors of farmyard animals. He convinced Pat Gauch at Philomel to do the book and then they contacted me. I was delighted with the project, having just been to a Scottish farm where many of those same animals were being lovingly cared for. I researched carefully, looked at Ted’s photos from which he would do his drawings, and together we chose the animals we wanted to feature. Then I began my part of the work–writing the poems that both told about, and gave poetic voice to the creatures.

What reviewers have said:

  • “Ted Lewin’s beautiful paintings clarify the poems, some of which require adult explanation for young readers to understand the references to man’s need for the animals throughout history. Children will appreciate how the animals have evolved and can be seen in today’s world.” — Children’s Literature
  • “As in Bird Watch and Sea Watch, Yolen and Lewin have combined words and pictures to create a celebration of the essence of each poem’s subject. … Yolen’s words and Lewin’s brushstrokes draw readers into the mysterious heart of each animal. The Originals is an original hymn to our past that lives on in these glorious creatures as Yolen writes of the Exmoor pony, “This could be today/Or a thousand years past.” — School Library Journal

Out of print