CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009
Yolen provides another simple, but effective, take on the Nativity story via the medium of a counting book in which, after an opening angel, an increasing number of animals and people make their way across the dunes of the nighttime desert as they are being guided by a star that shines above a distant manger. As the excerpt reveals, the poetic text has a repetitive pattern, one which young listeners will quickly recognize and, guided by the illustrations, they will likely participate in saying as the book is being read aloud. The only place where Yolen's text varies is on the book's closing double page spread where it reads:
Vlasta van Kampen's illustrations are most appropriate for a counting book directed at very young pre-readers. Each of the first ten double page spreads has the appropriate number of human figures or animals that are generally laid out in a fashion which facilitates a youngster's being able to count them to confirm that they agree in number with the text. The delightful surprise is the eleventh and final spread which contains the total number of critters and people, plus a baby in a "cradle" and two additional adults. Patient children who like a challenge will pore over this closing spread to make certain that van Kampen hasn't missed any of the 55 "things" that the ilustration is supposed to contain.
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM's editor.
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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.