Numerous titles interpreting "Over in the Meadow" have been published, but trust the team of Jane and Manning to conjure up an impressive new vision in time for Halloween.
Set in a fantastical land dominated by watery blues, greens and grays and punctuated by warm reds and yellows, Manning's tale presents ethereal ghosts, country-bumpkin werewolves, parading mummies, screeching witches, happy bats and boogieing skeletons that readers will instantly want to have as friends. The preschool set should find comfort in seeing how loving and attentive the ghoulish moms and dads are with their offspring. Parents may see a bit of themselves here as well. (Mothers, especially, may chuckle at the staring zombie mom pictured in disheveled attire with her tongue hanging out.) Even though this is essentially a counting rhyme, the author elevates the reading and listening experience with interactive rhyming text that is rich with alliteration and strong action words: The monster "scared and he scampered," ghosts "hid and they haunted," witches "crowed and they cackled" and bats "swooped in the shadows." The story begins and ends with the green-horned monster mommy and her little monster one—" 'Trick or treat?' asked the mommy; / 'Treat!' cried the one. / So they skipped off together / For some Halloween fun!"Truly satisfying. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
In a gently spooky spin on "Over in the Meadow" that counts up to 10, various ghouls and beasts groan, swoop, and haunt. Jane has fun playing within the nursery rhyme's parameters, whether peeking in on a family of zombies (" ‘Stare!' said the mommy; ‘We stare,' said the three"), howling werewolves (dressed in patchwork overalls), or a rattling "father skeleton/ And his little skellies eight." Manning's quirky and expressive monster families are 10 kinds of cute. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC
K-Gr 2--"Over in the Meadow" gets a Halloween makeover in this picture book. Starting with "a mommy monster and her little monster one," spooky beasties including ghosts, mummies, skeletons, bats, and goblins cavort in the woods while counting from 1 to 10. Manning's muted blue-green, brown-orange illustrations fill the spreads with kid-friendly monsters, although the zombies are a bit creepy. The lack of numerals on the pages limits the story's usefulness as a counting book. Libraries in need of monster-filled Halloween tales may consider this as an additional purchase.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT[Page 68]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.