My Friend and I ) trademark fine "/>

ON THE HILL

Lisa Jahn-Clough, Author . Houghton/Lorraine $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-40741-5

Set against an alpine backdrop, this modest tale of love overcoming obstacles radiates a simple charm through Jahn-Clough's (My Friend and I ) trademark fine black line and color wash illustrations. Camille and Franzi, two Old World–looking peasants, live on opposite sides of a hill, not knowing the other exists but each desiring company. The text cleverly mirrors each of the characters' thoughts: "Camille loved her little house and all of her animals. But the animals wouldn't dance with her or carry on interesting conversations.... Franzi loved his little house and all of his animals.... But the animals wouldn't sing with him or tell him stories at bedtime." Repetition in the straightforward text underscores the simplicity of this universal human experience and complements the naïve paintings. An abundance of curvy lines, from the characters' sausage-like noses (which match their similarly shaped boots) to the bell-shaped roofs of their humble abodes, provides a comfy feel as well as a subtle note of humor. Loosely applied daubs of color and large brushstrokes add a welcome abstract touch. The warm oranges and yellows reflect the story's cheerful timbre as the two find each other and then creatively solve the problem of how to coexist comfortably with their animal broods. The book's small trim size emphasizes the couple's contented coziness at story's end. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/09/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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