Going to the Fair.
Sheryl McFarlane. Illustrated by Sheena Lott.
Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 4 - 7.
"Erin's eyes are as bright as the lights from the exhibition grounds and she can barely tear herself away from the window. The night lasts a thousand years. When she finally sleeps, Erin will dream first prize with a pumpkin grown to twice her size."
In recent years, children, both urban and rural, have been provided with a number of excellent opportunities to participate vicariously in various aspects of country living via picture books such as Andrews' and Reczuch's The Auction and Bannatyne-Cugnet's and Moore's A Prairie Alphabet and A Prairie Year. In Going To The Fair, the author/illustrator team of McFarlane and Lott share yet another segment of the cycle of rural life as they present a child's-eye view of a day at a local agricultural exhibition. McFarlane's narrative device is a young girl, Erin, who has entered her pumpkin for judging at the fair, and she is excited, yet apprehensive, about learning the results. To sustain the suspense, McFarlane has Erin meet three of her friends at the fairgrounds, and young readers receive a playful guided tour as the child quartet gradually makes its active way through the fair's sites and events. Finally Erin is the recipient of good news, and the book concludes with Erin's looking forward to next year's fair when her white third place ribbon might be replaced by a winning blue.
Using a horizontal design, the book's facing pages consist of Lott's full-colour realistic watercolour illustrations occupying one full page while McFarlane's brief text on each facing page is accompanied by a small black and white drawing related to a text detail. The stop action quality of Lott's artwork effectively captures the hustle and bustle of the fair while the illustrations' details evoke the autumn exhibition's sounds, smells and textures. This third collaboration of author and illustrator merits inclusion in libraries serving early years students.
Dave Jenkinson is Associate Dean, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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