cover image Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art

Market Day: A Story Told with Folk Art

Lois Ehlert. Harcourt Children's Books, $17 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202158-0

Ehlert (Hands) parades her personal collection of folk art, hailing from countries as diverse as Guatemala, Indonesia and Africa, across crisply designed pages in this exuberant picture book about the vendors and shoppers at a bustling open-air market. A brief, rhyming text describes a family's preparations for a day selling their wares at the local market (""Pull up some carrots./ Shake off the dirt./ Pack the tomatoes./ Tuck in your shirt""). Ehlert's arresting artwork gives this book a distinct south-of-the-border spice: she arranges photographs of dolls, animals, fruit and vegetablesDhand-crafted from such materials as carved, painted wood, pounded tin and woven, dyed fibersDin bright, busy collages on bold, often quilted backgrounds. Each of the unique objects within a scene inspires a sense of wonderment and invites closer inspection. Via art and story, kids are introduced to some of the intrinsic beauty of exotic places like Colombia, Mexico and Peru. A spectacular, tightly arranged two-page photo-catalogue at book's end entitled ""Where did they come from? What are they made of?"" will satisfy readers' curiosity about the composition and origins of the featured artifacts. Ehlert has indulged her passion for Latin American lore and culture before, notably in Cuckoo/Cuc# and Moon Rope, but readers will surely be glad she has revisited this terrain. Ages 3-7. (May)