The classic children’s song “Over in the Meadow” moves to the North Pole in this Christmas-themed interpretation.
The story begins with a “big mommy elf” who lives in a house at the North Pole with her “little elfie one.” Each verse introduces a new set of parent-and-child characters, increasing by one child each time. A father mouse encourages his “little mousies two” to nibble, a mother polar bear tells her “little polies five” to swim, and Father Santa calls for his “little helpers eight” to hurry and his “little reindeer nine” to fly. The story circles back around to the mother elf and her little one as they wave goodbye to Santa on Christmas Eve. The story works well when read as rhyming text, but it also can be sung to the old folk tune of “Over in the Meadow” for a musical Christmas treat. The parental characters are evenly divided between mothers and fathers, and the activities and names for the children are cleverly inventive, such as “gingies” for the little gingerbread children. Soft-focus watercolor illustrations use glowing light and mysterious shadows to create a suspenseful mood with a magical radiance. Manning’s illustrations are simply irresistible, with appealing characters and strong compositions on each spread. Unfortunately, all the humanoid characters appear to be Caucasian.
This special story will be read or sung over in the library, over in the classroom, and over in the family room, next to the Christmas tree. (Picture book. 3-7)