THE SONG by Charlotte Zolotow


by & illustrated by
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The difference pictures of a certain kind make to a text is graphically demonstrated here. Accompanying the song of a little bird "inside" Sarah--through summer, fall, and winter, and into the next spring--are not moody evocations but poster-like crystallizations, in the nursery-mode of the late-Twenties/early-Thirties, but with reflections of a latter-day sensibility in the space-filling composition and (sometimes) stagey design. The merest snatch of text brings an emblematic, frame-able picture--as when we see, with "The little bird sang all winter," a fat rabbit hunched down in the snow, and two smaller rabbits snuggled in an underground nest. Meanwhile, just winging into sight, is the little bird--who somehow turns up in picture after picture, even as his song is always inside Sarah's head. What he is singing is a song of the seasons--"of snowflakes and frosty windows and the sting of the wind"; "of silky new grass and the smell of wet earth"--which Sarah's parents can't hear; and then, in the spring, she meets a friend who hears the song too. With the strongly realized pictures, the melodious text becomes, indeed, a sort of background melody--which is one perfectly valid way for youngsters to take in a picture book. It's a safe bet, too, that they'll remember Tufari's decorative patterns and embellishments as what the song was all about.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1982
ISBN: 0688008178
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1982


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