________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 7 . . . . December 1, 2000

cover Waltz of the Scarecrows.

Constance W. McGeorge. Illustrated by Mary Whyte.
San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 1998.
32 pp., cloth, $22.95.
ISBN 0-8118-1727-X.

Subject Heading:

Kindergarten - grade 3 / Ages 5 - 8.

Review by Lisa M. Sykes.

**** /4


"Some folks say that when the crops are full and the harvest moon rises in the sky, a wind blows in from the south. The cornstalks sway, and the faint sound of music drifts through the fields.

..."There are even a few," Grandpa added, "who claim they've seen the scarecrows waltzing."

image While on a summer visit to her grandparents farm, Sarah helps stitch and stuff scarecrows to protect the crops from the crows. However, the scarecrows are anything but ordinary, dressed as they are in satin gowns, top hats and tails.
    "Grandpa," Sarah cried, "all the scarecrows are dressed up!"
    Grandpa sat down on an old tree stump and motioned to Sarah to sit beside him. "Why it's a tradition here, " he said. "It all started one summer long ago."
    Sarah's grandparents re-tell the story of the first Harvest Ball (a celebration of a 'bumper crop') and the curious circumstances which led to the community's outsmarting the crows with their fancy scarecrows. As a result, Sarah finds herself participating in the town's tradition and believing in the legend of the Scarecrow's Waltz long after she returns home from the farm.
    Author, Constance W. McGeorge, and illustrator, Mary Whyte, have teamed up to share a wonderful tale. The original story and well-paced text are accompanied by beautifully detailed watercolour paintings which convey both the sights and sounds of summer and the melancholy flavour of early autumn. The creative solution of the community and the romantic, magical quality of the tale ensure a positive reading/listening experience for young audiences. Whyte has also hidden a scarecrow figure within each painting for viewers to search for, and even adults will be challenged! In short, Waltz of the Scarecrows is a quality picture book that makes a nice addition to fall themes, seasonal change and fantasy collections.

Highly Recommended.

Lisa Sykes has worked as an early years teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB. She is currently on maternity leave and enjoying her time at home with her two young children.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364