From Publishers Weekly
In her promising children's debut, Olsen creates elaborately patterned yet harmonious folk-art collages for Williams's (My Dog Never Says Please) Halloween version of "The Farmer in the Dell." Incorporating fabrics, paint and cut paper, the large horizontal collage illustrations show goblins, ghosts and the rest of the usual suspects at a costume jamboree; below, a narrow panel extends the joke (e.g., pumpkin lanterns spell out "Boo to you"). When a curious girl and her cat stop by, they are welcomed inside. Finally, "the clock sends them home. The clock sends them home...." and the humans remove their masks. So does the party-crasher, who, underneath her Shirley Temple getup, is a lilac-faced crone. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
reSchool-Grade 2-Set to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell," this Halloween story is a winner for sharing with one child or a group. Starting with "The witch casts a spell," the song tells of a scarecrow, a mummy, a vampire, goblins, and ghosts having a party. A small girl who watches the action from afar is spotted and invited to join the ghastly group. "Finger" food and a blood-red beverage are among the treats served to the guests. Olsen's bright acrylics and collage on handmade paper embellish the double-spread illustrations with rich details. Each page offers a second, elongated picture decorated with Halloween symbols and letters that spell out a word or a message. After the celebration, the party goers return home and remove their disguises, including the "girl," who is actually a purple-faced witch, wart and all. Children know the tune and will easily join in after hearing the first few words of each stanza and the repeated refrain. An enjoyable holiday story that encourages participation.
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Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.