cover image Know What I Saw

Know What I Saw

Aileen Fisher. Roaring Brook Press, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-055-6

The narrator, a pigtailed girl with boundless energy and curiosity, answers the title question (or a variation on it) 10 times over the course of a visit to a farm and surrounding countryside. Fisher's poem (The Story Goes On) does double duty as a counting-in-reverse rhyme, starting with ""10 little collies,/ and all asleep/ with legs and noses/ in comical poses,"" down to ""6 baby rabbits/ who just got their clothes,"" and coming to rest with the narrator being kissed by one ""pert little puppy"" from the litter seen on the opening page. There are some lovely rhythmic moments, as when at twilight the girl spies, ""4 baby skunks/ in a single file/ behind their mother/ behind each other./ I didn't stay near/ a very long while!"" (the painting shows only the girl's pink sneakers in retreat from the line of critters). Youngsters will likely be pulled in by DeSaix's strikingly realistic oil paintings. Although the human faces can look a bit awkward, the artist is particularly effective working in close-ups of the creatures, whether the subject is a brood of golden chicks snuggling in the hay alongside their brilliantly feathered Rhode Island Red mother, or a nest of five hungry sparrows. Ages 3-6.