cover image OVER IN THE GARDEN


Jennifer Ward, , illus. by Kenneth J. Spengler. . Rising Moon, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87358-793-8

To the familiar tune of "Over in the Meadow," this counting book gets cozy with some ugly bugs. Ward and Spengler (Somewhere in the Ocean) magnify the creepy crawlers, from a slimy, liver-brown "mother snail and her little snails four" to a family of hairy brown spiders that leap toward the foreground through massive stems and leaves: "Over in the garden where the vines and berries mix/ Lived a little mother spider and her baby spiders six./ 'Jump!' said the mother. 'We jump!' said the six./ So they jumped through the garden where the vines and berries mix." Ward provides the song's musical notation and a glossary of larva and arachnids, but her rhymes are pedestrian. Spengler, too, adds extras—he playfully hides the numerals in every spread and shows the bugs to come waiting in the wings—but the close-ups magnify the creatures to such a degree that they may appear grotesque for some youngsters. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)