Grimly goes perky in this updated take on an old classic.
Known best for his macabre imagery, Grimly shifts gears entirely in this kooky adaptation for the younger set. A gnomish, white Old MacDonald visits the animals on his farm. Though these illustrations are recognizably from the hand of the dark, unnerving artist he’s always been, these have an effervescent cheer, emblematic in the sunflower affixed to Old MacDonald’s hat. As readers watch, Old MacDonald visits his chickens, turkey, ducks, donkey, pigs, cow, sheep, and, in a bit of a last-minute twist, bear. This is an Old MacDonald that points his toes as he traipses around his farm. He’s just so plumb delighted with everything he sees that his joy and enthusiasm are contagious. The sheer joy in the proceedings threatens to distract readers from Grimly’s wondrous watercolor work. His use of shadow and light on the rural landscape may leave even casual readers breathless. An artist’s note at the end provides copious context, explaining that the illustrator came from a long line of farmers and tipping a hat to the book’s primary audience and muse: his own son. Sheet music is also included.
For those who want a little more pizzazz in their storytime fare, Grimly packs a punch in a pretty package. (Picture book. 3-6)