________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 8 . . . . December 5, 2008

cover The Sweetest One of All.

Jean Little. Illustrated by Marisol Sarrazin.
Toronto, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2008.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-439-93775-7.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Linda Ludke.

***½ /4


excerpt:

The goslings gazed up at the goose.
“Who are you?” they asked.
“I am your mother,” the goose announced.
“Then who are we?” the goslings wanted to know.
“You,” she told them, “are the most glorious goslings in the garden.”

Spring on the farm brings a barnyard full of newborn animals. One by one they ask their mother, “Who are you?” and “Who am I?” With loving assurance, their questions are answered: “I am your mother” and “You,” the sheep said, “are the loveliest lamb in the land.” As the lamb skips over the rolling hills, the cow wistfully wishes for her own woolly lamb. “Nonsense,” says the sheep, with a laugh. / “You don’t want a lamb. You want a calf.” The next page shows the cow nuzzling a black and white calf and proudly announcing him to be “the cutest calf in the clover.”

internal art

     This soothing pattern is repeated with the horse, pig, nanny goat, goose and dog families. At the end, a mother introduces her child to the animals and proudly comments, “They all have beautiful babies ... / But you are MY little one, / and you are the sweetest one of all.”

     Marisol Sarrazin’s chalk pastel illustrations warmly capture the mother-child relationships. The cozy sense of belonging is emphasized in scenes showing the goslings tucked beneath their mother’s wings or the dog and puppy cuddling nose to nose.

     Jean Little’s rhythmic, patterned text is also peppered with clever word play (“We’re goats,” [the billy goat] said. “You’ll have a kid.” / “Not me,” said the nanny goat. “I’m having twins.”) and alliteration (“You,” said the pig, “are the perkiest piglet in the pen.”). The Sweetest One of All is a great read aloud choice and especially appropriate for one-on-one laptime sharing.

Highly Recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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