cover image FIDDLE-I-FEE


Will Hillenbrand, . . Harcourt/Gulliver, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201945-7

Hillenbrand (Counting Crocodiles) gives a new angle to a favorite farmyard folk song in this jaunty adaptation. The cumulative lyrics begin, "I had a cat. My cat pleased me. I fed my cat under yonder tree. My cat plays fiddle-i-fee." Subsequent verses feature a duck, goose, hen, pig, cow and so on, introducing the various barn-dwellers and the musical sounds each can play. But as the animals prepare for a jam session, a human family (an obviously pregnant young woman and hard-working young farmer) prepare for another special event: the arrival of their baby. Hillenbrand's mixed-media illustrations depict a warm, bucolic life as it changes month to month and season to season. Scenes of scampering animals and the busy couple (shown knitting, quilting, chopping wood, etc.) employ a wide array of tones, from bold and crisp to soft and smoky. Most spreads contain hints of what comes next in the song—and in the chain of events—creating a pleasant guessing game for young readers. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)