Low Song

Eve Merriam, Author, Pam Paparone, Illustrator
Eve Merriam, Author, Pam Paparone, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-82820-1
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Pitch-perfect illustrations by Paparone (Fire Fighters) contemporize this 1962 rhyme by Merriam (1916-1992), author of Blackberry Ink and The Inner City Mother Goose. The poem celebrates objects that appear at a child's-eye level: ""I like things that come nice and low/ Falling leaves and falling snow."" Some familiar things, like ""Pebbles/ Shells/ All flowery smells"" can be found in most any neighborhood, while the more fanciful lists offer tongue-twisting fun (""Heels/ Wheels/ Flippery seals and slippery eels/ Ladybugs/ Plugs/ Snuggly puppy hugs""). Only ""the morning sound of the milkman's feet"" seems anachronistic. Paparone's cheerful acrylic paintings strike a balance between midcentury American picture books and present-day productions. Her ruddy-cheeked children, tidy townhouses and country scenes call to mind Leonard Weisgard's illustrations, and the artist updates this vision with an ice cream palette of strawberry pink, custard yellow and blueberry purple. Devotees of Margaret Wise Brown will find much to admire in this homey volume, with its rhythmic, repetitive verses and golden-age visual allusions. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)