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Isadora (Bea at Ballet) brings a traditional cumulative folk song ("And the green grass grew all around, all around...") to the African savannah. In her version, the hole in the ground is discovered by an African mother and her children; the tree is an acacia sapling growing next to a lion and her cub; and the bird is a superb starling, a beautiful creature with a black face and midnight blue wings who hatches a chick from a speckled egg. Her collages are composed of painted and patterned pieces of paper in vivid greens and hot oranges; outlines and facial features are overlaid in woodblock-like black lines. African textile motifs border the pages, and thumbnail images substitute for key words as the verses build up ("Oh, the chick in the egg, and the [picture of a bird] on the egg, and the [picture of an egg] in the nest"), turning the song into an absorbing rebus puzzle. It's also a gentle push toward opening up one's own storytelling tradition to the rest of the world. Musical notation and a rebus key are included, too. Ages 3-5. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 1-In this illustrated version of a traditional cumulative song, Isadora sets the "hole in the ground and the tree in the hole" in Africa and uses her iconic collage-style illustrations to tell the story of a bug on a wing of a chick in an egg. and green grass growing all around, each page telling one of the verses. The rebus icons that the publisher's notes call "an enjoyable and easy way to follow along" are a clumsily introduced distraction. The music and lyrics on the last page take the lazy way out by providing four numbered verses followed by the dictate to "add a new phrase each time until the final verse," and then provides the last, numbered 9. Isadora's artwork is consistently attractive and includes some animals native to the setting, but they are not emphasized in any way, adding to the generic tone and losing an opportunity to extend and deepen the material. Susan K. Mitchell's Rainforest Grew All Around (Sylvan Dell, 2007) is a better choice.-Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
The popular folk song And the Green Grass Grew All Around gets a new setting in this lively picture book with bright, clear, colorful collage double-page spreads that show a small boy with his mother in the African savanna, pointing at a hole in the ground, a spreading acacia tree, a branch, and a nest. On each uncluttered spread, Isadora includes an African animal: a giraffe appears by the branch; a lion stands with her cub; a vervet monkey looks at a nest; butterflies fly overhead; and a chick hatches out of its egg. In a final scene, two kids stand under the tree, pointing at a gorgeous glowing sunset. The colorful borders include pieces of bright Kente cloth along with bands of geometric designs. For the cumulative chorus on each spread, Isadora uses rebus icons, which are explained in a final list, and she also includes sheet music and the full text at the back. This lively new version of a story hour standard will appeal to young preschoolers as well as to older kids on the cusp of reading.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist