Over in the Grasslands

Anna Wilson, Author, Alison Bartlett, Illustrator Little, Brown Books for Young Readers $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-316-93910-2
Wilson's first book smoothly adapts the lively rhythms of the classic childhood song ""Over in the Meadow"" to the denizens of African plains: ""Over in the grasslands/ in the heat of the sun/ Lived an old mother rhino/ and her little rhino one./ `Munch,' said the mother. `We munch,' said the one./ So they munched all day/ in the heat of the sun."" The following spreads devote similar attention to different animal families of increasing size. The verses wind down with grown-up monkeys ""and their little monkeys ten,"" the latter being put to sleep ""in a big warm den."" Bartlett's (Oliver's Vegetables) sunny full-page paintings give this straightforward rhyme considerable appeal. Saturated tropical colors light up frontal views of friendly animals, who face the audience almost as if grouped for a family portrait. On verso spreads, the number featured in each verse appears in the top left corner, below which flows a border echoing a motif from the painting paired with it. The hard-to-resist cover illustration, of four tangerine-colored lion cubs snuggling with their mother under a lush orange sky, gives a good indication of the pleasures within. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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