4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3-star story with 5-star illustrations,
This review is from: The Scarecrow's Dance (Hardcover)
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Jane Yolen deserves praise for offering a distinctive view of the iconic scarecrow. Her picture book attempts to fuse magic and faith, silliness and somberness. The results are uneven; the poem's tone is often gloomy and foreboding; awkward words interrupt the rhythm of rhymed couplets. For example, Yolen chose "forlorn" and "singularity" to complete rhymes but children would more easily understand "sad" and "miracle".
He danced past tractor
In the field.
Sill waiting to
Bring in the yield.
Past cows who lay down
In the grass
And watced him
As he, silent, passed.
He danced by barn
As red as blood
And two pigs sleeping
In the mud.
The "red as blood" description bothered my sons (ages 6 and 5). They asked me if that meant someone was hurt.
While the poem suffers from jagged rhymes and tone, the illustrations are outstanding. Bagram Ibatoulline captures twilight's soft colors, the breezy look of an evening wind rushing through the corn fields and a soft, cheerful scarecrow.
In summary, The Scarecrow's Dance deserves three stars, crediting its unique storyline while the illustrations deserve no less than five stars. Together, the picture book earns four stars for a net score of four stars.