cover image Little Country Town

Little Country Town

Kay Chorao, Jandelyn Southwell, Jamie Southwell. Henry Holt & Company, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-5711-9

""In a quiet country town,/ by a dusty little road,/ there's a great green field/ where the wildflowers grow,"" begins debut writer Southwell and veteran artist Chorao's (Pig and Crow) seductive paean to a country childhood. The eponymous town offers a host of simple but heady pleasures: a ""stream of crystal water"" where frogs croak nightly, trees for climbing with ""strong and sturdy branches."" In this idyllic town, made for childhood memories, only mom and pop stores dot the quaint main street. Chorao frames her full-bleed, double-page gouache illustrations around the warm weather adventures of a group of children, all of whom live in clapboard houses. They spend their days roaming and playing blissfully unsupervised, while nights are for savoring, all the delicious smells, sights and sounds. Southwell's lilting, rhyming text sways to the gentle beat of rural life, and the refrain, ""And each and every night, when the sun goes down"" (always followed by different descriptive companion lines about fragrant smells, birds cheeping and stars shining ""in the little country town"") feels like an old, sweet song. Ages 2-6. (Jan.)