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Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures Paperback – August 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frazee's (The Seven Silly Eaters) dark but nimble illustrations flesh out more of a story line for the old folk song, with mixed results. A scowling older sister starts the baby crying by abruptly shoving its cradleAa clever, tangy interpretationAand the family spends the rest of the book trying to placate the infant. Cast as Appalachians of yore, the characters include a bonneted mother, a burly father, the barefoot, gap-toothed sister and a bushy-bearded peddler. The words of the song are blazoned across the bottom of the spreads in large type, and the pictures, heavily shaded with black pencil and brightened somewhat with colored inks, often appear as multi-panel sequences. Vignettes on one spread, for example, show the girl whispering to the father, then leading him to the peddler's wagon, then buying a mockingbird, then carrying it home. A few scenes of the father and daughter are beautifully expressive: her poses, leaning against him or happily perched on his shoulders, are perfectly natural, as is a scene in which the parents exchange woeful glances over the baby's head. But a few too many exaggerated gestures and bugged eyes send the illustrations from the animated toward the cartoonish, and while the style is very deliberate, the gloomy tones and the hyped-up, caricatured figures sit uneasily together. All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-This creative interpretation has all of the elements of a perfect picture book: playful illustrations that extend the text dramatically and tell an additional story all their own; an attractive page layout that makes it ideal for use in a storyhour; and a satisfying conclusion that brings the story back to its beginning-a sleeping baby. Even before the text begins, a 19th-century rural family is shown returning home as the sun goes down, the couple walking ahead with a sleeping baby while their older daughter lags behind, intrigued by a peddler's cartload of goods. When they reach their cabin, the girl, jealous of the attention lavished on her young sibling, makes her displeasure clear by giving the cradle a shove. The resulting howls from the now-awake infant set in motion a series of visits to the peddler's wagon, where the youngster persuades her father to buy, one by one, the familiar items mentioned in the song. But does she really hope such items as a looking glass and a puppy will hush the crying child, or does she have her eye on them for herself? The story is rendered in acrylic artist's ink and black Prismacolor pencil, mostly in two-page spreads with one line of the song in large type across the bottom. The complete lyrics, with musical accompaniment, are appended. Even libraries with other picture-book versions of this song in their collections will want to add this unique, imaginative interpretation.
Ginny Gustin, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Sandpiper (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152047611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152047610
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 10 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,711,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What a super smart interpretation of a favorite old folk song! Marla Frazee's warm, funny and beautifully detailed illustrations (she's been a big favorite in our house since THE SEVEN SILLY EATERS) make us all, grown-ups included, want to "sing it" again and again.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Carol McCardell on June 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you like to sing to your child, this book is a must have! Hush Little Baby just arrived on our doorstop today and immediately my 2 1/2 year old Wendy wanted me to sing it twice over. After I had gone on to another book, she picked up this book and 'read' it to herself! I have always gotten stuck beyond the second rhyme with this song and usually sang myself into a corner, trying to make up the rest. Finally with the song in print, I can finish this song.
Marla Frazee's illustrations are lavish with details, and each one truely is a work of art. The jacket mentioned that she did some research in the hills of West Virginia, at Fort New Salem to regain the feel of this lullaby's Applachian roots. The faces of the characters are so realistic for any family trying ANYTHING to calm a baby down so that everyone can get some sleep. And, true to form, the baby is calmed, just in time to greet the dawning sun.
Older siblings with a new baby in the house can particularly relate to this book as the older sister offers everything in a peddlers cart, one by one, to pacify her baby brother (or sister, I can't tell).
The words are 3/4" high with one line of the song for each opening. The pages flip quickly, making this book a good one for a page-turning toddler develping an interest in books. Added bonus, if the parent isn't familiar with the song, the musical score, with all the verses, is printed on the last page.
I have become an instant fan of Marla Frazee's work and will continue to look for more of her books. I am so impressed with this one, it was perfect for us!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Amara TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My older son just loves the Hush Little Baby lullaby, and so this book was a must for us. We just love the pictures! The artist is great at showing emotions on faces. You can really tell how everyone is feeling. I think this book would be a good one for a family expecting a new baby, as it's one of the few books that admits that babies can be tough---they can cry a lot and be hard to comfort---but also shows the whole family working together to try to make the baby happy. It would set a great tone for the baby to be! Really a nice book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mom on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
I can finally remember all the words to this lullaby! This book, with its beautiful illustrations, is a bedtime favorite for my girls, ages 2 and 4. They love to look at and talk about the pictures, and sing along or tell the story with their own words. The end is the favorite part of these big sisters - - the baby is finally quieted when his big sister catches and holds him. I would recommend this book to anyone! It also makes a great gift for new parents!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
What will hush the baby?

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word" is a folk song that all of us as parents are familiar with. The author has taken this familiar and well-loved folk song and made it into a picture book sure to charm children, parents, and grandparents.

The illustrations start with the parents, their little girl, and a sleeping baby walk past a peddler's wagon. Mom puts the baby to bed, then when she isn't looking the big sister walks over and tips the cradle over. While the parents frantically try everything to soothe the frightened child, the sister suggests they visit the peddler's cart for something. And thus Daddy returns with a mockingbird... and so the story goes.

Both my two-year and five-year-old absolutely loved Hush, Little Baby when I read it to them. My five-year-old looked at the pictures several times and wanted me to sing it to her. Then the book made the round of the family while they looked at the excellent illustrations and commented on them. Some of them even made them laugh.

Hush, Little Baby is a book that won't be read once and forgotten. If you sing nursery rhymes, lullabies, or folk songs to your children and can't quite remember the words to Hush, Little Baby, this is an excellent resource. Not only that but it is made out of sturdy cardboard so it will hold up to everything except possibly a teething baby. I'm keeping my copy to enjoy for my children, and later, my grandchildren.

Armchair Interviews says: You won't be disappointed in Hush, Little Baby.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R.A.N. on January 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit-I am a fan of books that you can "sing" to your little peanut. This one serves that purpose beautifully. One line of text across the bottom of two pages that illustrate the one lyric at a time, i.e., "If that dog named Rover won't bark, Papa's gonna buy you a horse and cart"

One kind of fun thing about this book is the older sister who is a bit of the antagonist through the book, in a way. She's the one who woke the baby in the cradle and as the poor exhausted parents scramble around to "hush little baby." There's no written story line other than what the song is, but as mentioned, the illustrations say a lot.

In the end, Sister not only ends up with the dog who won't bark, but "the sweetest baby in town" in her arms as everyone takes a nap in the prairie field as the peddler strolls away. LOVE this book. I ended up just buying it because my little toddler loved it so much from the library. Great bedtime story :)
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