Readers join a mother and child on their trip to the farmers market, meeting vendors and learning how they prepare their goods for sale.
Exact, masterful cut-paper illustrations bring the market’s smells, produce, bustle and cheery people to life. At each stand, a double-page spread introduces the artisan and the next item on the family’s shopping list (which appears on the title page). On the left, proud portraits of smiling producers selling their goods immediately humanize the quotidian errand; on the right, the list item appears in large, colored lettering followed by a brief introduction to both sellers and their products. McClure calls the vendors by their first names only, and her conversational tone feels almost as warm as a good handshake. A page-turn takes readers back to the orchard, field, smoke-house, garage or barn where their goods originated—earthy, realistic scenes captured brilliantly through bold, black lines and the use of a single color associated with each item. Opposite pages deliver lengthy, sometimes exhausting, descriptions of each production process. McClure clearly wishes to honor the sellers’ unflagging energy and admirable work, and she succeeds handily through her lively illustrations. Here, cut paper reads as freeze frames, action shots of real people with cockeyed grins, tattoos, funny hats, dogs and children.
These soulful images never feel static—an amazing feat for such a deliberate, painstaking medium. (Picture book. 2-8)