Numerous titles interpreting “Over in the Meadow” have been published, but trust the team of Jane and Manning to conjure up an impressive new vision in time for Halloween.
Set in a fantastical land dominated by watery blues, greens and grays and punctuated by warm reds and yellows, Manning’s tale presents ethereal ghosts, country-bumpkin werewolves, parading mummies, screeching witches, happy bats and boogieing skeletons that readers will instantly want to have as friends. The preschool set should find comfort in seeing how loving and attentive the ghoulish moms and dads are with their offspring. Parents may see a bit of themselves here as well. (Mothers, especially, may chuckle at the staring zombie mom pictured in disheveled attire with her tongue hanging out.) Even though this is essentially a counting rhyme, the author elevates the reading and listening experience with interactive rhyming text that is rich with alliteration and strong action words: The monster “scared and he scampered,” ghosts “hid and they haunted,” witches “crowed and they cackled” and bats “swooped in the shadows.” The story begins and ends with the green-horned monster mommy and her little monster one—“ ‘Trick or treat?’ asked the mommy; / ‘Treat!’ cried the one. / So they skipped off together / For some Halloween fun!”Truly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-6)