FOUR IN ALL by Nina Payne


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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An artistic collaboration between a mother and son, this freshman effort is laudable, though somewhat flawed. The younger Payne’s cut-paper collage provides not only a rich backdrop for poet Payne’s (All the Day Long, o.p.) economical couplets, but a story of its own, that of a girl traveling alone in the dreamy land outside her country home. In one particularly stunning spread the words “one two three four” accompany intricate illustrations of ten creatures—a big bee, two ants, three ladybugs, and four tiny elves—wending their way through the sinewy grass. In the distance, the child builds a wood frame house. The facing page finds the girl dancing atop the weather vane of the finished structure with the words “roof window chimney door” set against the darkening sky. Rendered in the same earth-toned hues that define the illustration, unfortunately the text often recedes into the background. Illustrations bordered by creamy parchment-like paper let the words stand out. At just four words per spread (all nouns), the rhythmic text may well be remembered by young listeners, but emergent readers will find few visual cues in the quixotic images. Still, the exquisitely detailed, darkly lit illustrations reward close inspection. The final page lists the poem in its entirety, 56 nouns in all. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2001
ISBN: 1-886910-16-2
Page count: 32pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2001


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