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OVER IN THE MEADOW by Jan Thornhill


adapted by Jan Thornhill & illustrated by Jan Thornhill

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-926973-06-7
Publisher: Owlkids Books

The traditional song gets an unsuccessful seek-and-find makeover.

As in the original, children count from one to 10, following the animals in a streamside meadow habitat as they teach their babies a few needed skills. With only one glaring exception, the rhythms and rhymes fit the original tune, but readers won’t sing it through, anyway. They will be too busy scanning the spreads for the familiar objects that make up both the animals and their surroundings—green plastic combs stand in for grass, pretzels form the beaver lodge’s sticks and leaves become the owls’ feathers. Unlike other books that use this method, however, the objects are digitally resized, taking away their size context and making them difficult to recognize, especially in comparison to one another. Further complicating matters is the fact that some of the objects have had parts cut off or their color changed. Overall, the artwork comes off as being overly digitized, a jarring contrast to the nature theme of the song. For pre-readers, a few rebus elements are included in each verse, but as they focus mainly on the featured animal, they seem extraneous. A visual listing of many of the everyday objects used in the scenes offer readers the chance to go back through the illustrations and find them.

Leave the song to Marianne Berkes, the seek-and-find to Joan Steiner and the team of Walter Wick and Jean Marzollo. (Picture book. 3-6)