From Publishers Weekly
In a track on his 1979 album Slow Train Coming, Dylan speculates about Mankind's naming of beasts. Although his observations are by no means profound, his subject is appropriate for preschoolers: "[Man] saw an animal leavin' a muddy trail./ Real dirty face and a curly tail./ He wasn't too small and he wasn't too big./ 'Ah, think I'll call it a pig.' " Menchin (The Day the Whale Came) smoothly adapts this lark of a musical moment to the page by making it a guessing game. In teasing spreads, he reveals the eyes, feet or tail of the nameless creature, then unveils it whole. Menchin surrounds his block prints of barnyard animals with mixed media collages. A linocut pink pig sits in a patch of greenish straw, for instance, and a cropped photo of a crowd overlooks a bull and toreador. Even if the chosen lyrics eliminate both the catchy tune and the famous voice, this labor of love recommends Dylan to a new generation. Ages 3-10. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-Dylan's 1979 album, Slow Train Coming, included this title, and 20 years later, Menchin has taken the lyrics and added his own multimedia illustrations to create this picture book. Bold colors combine with powerful lines and visual imagery. For instance, the upper half of the head of an angry bull glares out at readers on a double-page spread colored in fire-engine red. Its horns curl up to encircle the text, which stands in straight lines that march across the two pages: "He saw an animal that liked to snort. Horns on his head and they weren't too short." What adds to the jarring effect of the bull is the sweet cow on the previous double-page spread, its head tilted into a somewhat perplexed look that seems to highlight its innocence. The baby-blue sky, sun-dappled grass, and row of bucolic-looking minihouses with curlicues of smoke rising from the chimneys add to the countryside feeling. The text is forced at times, and the lyrics don't always work as well visually as they do musically. Still, this book would be an effective way to showcase the many ways in which artists can create pictures using collage, paint, scissors, and, of course, their imaginations.Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.