cover image Ms. MacDonald Has a Class

Ms. MacDonald Has a Class

Jan Ormerod. Clarion Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-77611-7

Ormerod's (Sunshine) buoyant book gives the toe-tapping refrain of ""Old MacDonald Had a Farm"" a bustling classroom setting and inventive, mildly tongue-twisting lyrics. After taking a field trip to a farm, Ms. MacDonald's class ""makes some plans"" and gets to work, with ""A snip snip here and a stitch stitch there,/ Here a snip, there a stitch, everywhere a snip stitch."" In constant motion, the children skip, hop, bound and dance across the busy pages, which feature a hand-rendered musical score that, like the text, sometimes sways along with the lissome kids. As teacher and students prepare to stage a show recreating the sights and sounds of their visit to the farm, the costumes, scenery and props introduce splashes of vibrant color to the otherwise pale-toned palette Ormerod uses, convincingly, to convey the relative blandness of everyday classroom life. This contrast loses its subtlety when the curtain finally goes up on the glorious pageant: a turn of the page reveals a panoply of brilliant hues as the kids, costumed as everything from cows to cabbages, spiritedly strut their stuff, alongside lyrics more true to the original song (""An oink oink here and an oink oink there,/ Here a hop, there a waddle, everywhere a quack quack""). A perfect sing-aloud for preschool and early elementary students, who won't--and this is a guarantee--be able to resist joining in. Ages 5-8. (Aug.)