From Publishers Weekly
"There was a little man/ who ran a little factory,/ oh, la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah./ And every day he'd say,/ 'You're okay, little factory,'/ oh, la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah." Weeks's song (which she sings on an accompanying CD-ROM, tucked into a pocket inside the book's back cover) isn't substantial enough to work as a picture-book text, with its oft-repeated "oh, la-dee-dah" quickly becoming grating. When the little man is "given a command" to expand his little factory, he and his employees add more conveyor belts and chimneys. The air becomes so polluted that all the employees flee, "with their faces in their hands," except for the little man, who knocks down the new additions and replaces the chimneys with a solar panel. Then all the smiling workers return, "with the future in their hands." And "soon the air was ringing, 'cause everyone was singing..." (Yes, that same tired refrain.) The book's pedantic message eclipses the cheerful small folk in vivid colors that burst from Barton's (Dinosaurs, Dinosaurs) childlike paintings (he also animated the artwork?modestly ?for the CD-ROM). The disc allows readers to hear Weeks's appealing singing voice, but takes little advantage of the technology, and two of the four menu options are promotional plugs for Weeks's and Barton's earlier work. Ages 3-7.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-A little man builds a little factory and little workers come to run the machinery and work on the conveyor lines. Then the factory expands and becomes crowded and full of smoke, which chokes the employees and makes them leave. The owner then cuts back, switches to solar energy, and everyone returns. The simplistic concept, the frequently recurring refrain of "la-dee-dah, la-dee-dah," and the jingly couplets may work as a song (that can be heard on the accompanying CD-ROM) but do not succeed as a story. The illustrations fare better than the text. Attractive and childlike, Barton's multiethnic, stylized figures, presented in flat, bright primary colors against contrasting backgrounds, play and work amid tools, gears, and heavy equipment. Young children who love looking at pictures of tools regardless of their context might enjoy the book, but the text is not interesting enough to stand alone as any kind of story.Marian Drabkin, Richmond Public Library, CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.