THE HOUSE IN THE MEADOW

Shutta Crum, Author, Paige Billin-Frye, Illustrator
Shutta Crum, Author, Paige Billin-Frye, Illustrator , illus. by Paige Billin-Frye. Albert Whitman $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8075-3393-2
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-55455-091-3
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In a re-imagining of "Over in the Meadow" likely to please fans of trucks and construction, 10 friends of a bride and groom decide to build the couple a house. First to arrive in spring is "Charlie with a backhoe and strong diggers 9." The poem continues to count down, so that as winter wanes, "Over in the meadow, in the last room to do,/ Kellie rolled on paint with her new helpers 2"; and "the top town official with Inspector Number 1" give their stamp of approval (just in time, for the bride is now a mother-to-be). Crum's (Who Took My Hairy Toe?) poetics run into some rough spots (e.g., "Over in the meadow, putting pipes through the floor,/ Florence used her wrench and apprentices 4./ 'Plumb!' said Florence. 'We plumb,' said the 4./ So they joined all the pipes going through the new floor"). But budding builders will avidly follow the arrival of each progressively smaller crew and the text's changing refrains. Billin-Frye's (Slip, Slide, Skate) cut-paper illustrations create a strong sense of dimensionality, and she adds fun visual touches throughout, including actual copper pipes in the plumbing scene. The compositions take good advantage of the horizontal format, giving readers a sense of how a house both fills out its skeleton and takes shape on the greater landscape. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

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