Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Reviews: On the Farm and The Cat Came Back


We have all been enjoying On the Farm by David Elliott. The poems are short, celebrating a happy family farm. Holly Meade's woodcuts are vibrant. Second Daughter in particular loves this book. She makes all the animals sounds and anticipates the next one. She carries this book around, begging anyone to read it to her over and over again.

But then there's The Cat Came Back by Fred Penner. I think his updated lyrics are enjoyable enough. They seem less ghastly than the ones I vaguely remember from my elementary school days. The real problem is the illustrations by Renee Reichert. In theory they are clever, but I find the style very unpleasant. The kids like them well enough and Second Daughter has no problems with it at all.

She usually plops down in a lap with both of these and I am beginning to dread reading the second one. There are a few books like this for me, where the text is fine (or even wonderful) but the illustrations grate at me. Usually I just don't read the book to the kids, but these didn't seem so bad at first. Now the sight of Mr. Johnson is a little scary to me.

Anyone know of other versions of this book and song? Are there books you feel this way about? Is it just me?

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure there are at least a few books I've come across like that. One is the Beginner Bible series. They usually do a decent job distilling down the stories to whatever level they're aiming at, but the pictures are very cartoony caucasians, and everyone is always smiling.

    The worst books though are the ones the kids latch on to and want to read over and over that have inane text or certain words I always have to edit as we read (which is harder now that Simon can read too).

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