Little Factory [With Contains an Animation of the Story]

Sarah Weeks, Author, Michael Abbott, Author, Byron Barton, Illustrator Laura Geringer Book $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-027429-0
""There was a little man/ who ran a little factory,/ oh, la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah./ And every day he'd say,/ `You're okay, little factory,'/ oh, la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah."" Weeks's song (which she sings on an accompanying CD-ROM, tucked into a pocket inside the book's back cover) isn't substantial enough to work as a picture-book text, with its oft-repeated ""oh, la-dee-dah"" quickly becoming grating. When the little man is ""given a command"" to expand his little factory, he and his employees add more conveyor belts and chimneys. The air becomes so polluted that all the employees flee, ""with their faces in their hands,"" except for the little man, who knocks down the new additions and replaces the chimneys with a solar panel. Then all the smiling workers return, ""with the future in their hands."" And ""soon the air was ringing, 'cause everyone was singing..."" (Yes, that same tired refrain.) The book's pedantic message eclipses the cheerful small folk in vivid colors that burst from Barton's (Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs) childlike paintings (he also animated the artwork--modestly --for the CD-ROM). The disc allows readers to hear Weeks's appealing singing voice, but takes little advantage of the technology, and two of the four menu options are promotional plugs for Weeks's and Barton's earlier work. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1998
Release date: 10/01/1998
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