Over in the Meadow


32 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 1-897066-08-2
DDC j398.8





Reviewed by Anne Hutchings

Anne Hutchings, a former elementary-school teacher-librarian with the
Durham Board of Education, is an educational consultant.


This fresh take on Olive A. Wadsworth’s old Appalachian nursery song
will be a welcome addition to school and library poetry collections.
Many children will already be familiar with the song, thanks to the
classic picture books by John Langstaff and/or Ezra Jack Keats. This
version by Jan Thornhill, is, however, unique, in that its bright
double-page illustrations were created on a computer entirely from
photographs of everyday objects. In the final pages of the book,
Thornhill includes a “glossary” of all the objects and challenges
readers to find the illustration where each is used. Some have had their
colour changed, others have had parts cut off, and many are composites
of several objects. This task will provide hours of fun, especially for
older readers who would otherwise deem the book “too babyish.”

Sharing this book with very young children allows them to listen to the
sounds of language and, joining in, experiment with these sounds
themselves. Emerging readers will find it particularly attractive
because Thornhill has written each verse of the song as a rebus,
enabling children to “read” the book for themselves. Recommended.


Thornhill, Jan., “Over in the Meadow,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/20831.