This book for young children is both well written and beautifully illustrated. I read it to the little boy of some neighbors of mine; he loved it so much he wanted me to read it twice more to him and I did! Author Sarah L. Thomson uses rhyme and all the right words to make this book appealing to children just learning to count up to ten and read. Similarly, the vibrant, pretty colors used by illustrator Jana Christy are just splendid. In addition, the book teaches children the names of some animals; some are basic like "dog" and "cat" while others are a bit more advanced like "crow."
The author's own words tell a good deal about how the story in this book evolved. Sarah L. Thomson writes that "'Around the Neighborhood' is based on an old folk song from the southern Appalachians. The song is often known as `Over in the Meadow,' but sometimes has other titles. Cecil Sharp, a folk-song collector, included it in a 1917 collection of tunes under the name `Sing,' Said the Mother.' Sometimes the song is attributed to Olive A. Wadsworth, the pen name of author Katherine Floyd Dana. She did include a version (hers added up to twelve) in her novel `Kit, Fan, Tot and the Rest of Them,' published in 1870. It's a `funny little song' that Tot's mother uses to teach her how to count. The wording suggests that Dana did not invent the song but simply included a folk song she knew, imagining it was the kind of thing a mother might sing to a young child."
Regardless of the exact origin of this story, the loving relationship between mother and child charms me as the mother in the story teaches her child about counting--and even the names of some animals--as a soothing, affectionate way to bond with her child as she sings her child to sleep. I highly recommend this for young children learning to count as they also discover names of some of the beautiful animals in this world; this is a beautiful lullaby book to be cherished!