A classic counting rhyme is subjected to a lackluster treatment in this retelling that focuses on twins.
Inspired by his own set of twins and the repetitive rhythm of the poem "Over in the Meadow," Geist features six pairs of animal twins in various habitats. Beginning with a calf twosome on a farm (“Over in the barnyard / where the cows moo and moo, / lives a noisy little calf / and her loud twin, Blue”), the rhyming text continues with bunnies that hop in a garden, long-tailed monkeys that swing in jungle trees, shiny fish that swim in a pond, “itty bitty” bats that flap in a cave, and, finally, silly owlets in the night sky, which giggle and wish children a good night. Cole’s cartoonish animals, rendered in acrylic and colored pencil, are usually the highlight of any of his collaborations. Perhaps drawing little inspiration from the pedestrian text, the illustrations lack his typical energy and charm.
This serviceable bedtime story will find the most appeal with families of multiples and brother/sister pairs. [Note: An earlier version of this review was published in the July 1, 2012, issue and cited a concern based on a preliminary copy of the book. We publish herewith this revised review, as the problematic text was removed in the final, edited version.] (Picture book. 1-5)