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Country Kid, City Kid
     

Country Kid, City Kid

by Julie Cummins
 

Ben and Jody may be miles apart, but they are two of a kind.

Ben is a country kid. He lives on a quiet farm, where he wakes to the peaceful sounds of cows mooing and birds chirping.

Jody is a city kid. She lives in an apartment building, where her mornings begin with honking horns and wailing sirens.

Their lives are nothing alike--or are they?

Overview

Ben and Jody may be miles apart, but they are two of a kind.

Ben is a country kid. He lives on a quiet farm, where he wakes to the peaceful sounds of cows mooing and birds chirping.

Jody is a city kid. She lives in an apartment building, where her mornings begin with honking horns and wailing sirens.

Their lives are nothing alike--or are they?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ben lives on a cattle farm and Jody lives in a melting-pot metropolis, but as Cummins (The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries) and Rand (Once Upon a Farm) see it, the ostensible differences in landscapes leave plenty of common ground. For example, each wakes up to noises outside the window. Ben "hears cows mooing and birds singing," while Jody "hears taxicab horns and fire truck sirens." The narrative continues to compare and contrast their everyday lives, until the final spreads, when the children meet at Camp Eagle Ridge and become fast friends. "Country kid, city kid-miles apart, but two of a kind," sums up Cummins, while Rand shows the two happily paddling a canoe together. Despite something of a dulling effect from the dyad structure and rather perfunctory treatment of Jody and Ben's friendship, this book possesses a vintage charm. The earnestly cheery, realistic watercolors focus on what may seem exotic to outsiders-Ben's chores tending cows, Jody and her mother's shopping at side-by-side Asian and Italian groceries; Ben's travel to a bookmobile stop, Jody's solo ride on a city bus. Youngsters will likely enjoy this welcoming approach to contrasting lifestyles. Ages 4-6. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
With the passing of the seasons, two children who are miles apart live their lives in such different ways. Ben lives in the country, closely linked to the earth and its rhythms. Far away, Jody goes about her days working and playing in a city world with its street noises, shops full of people, and conveniences. Both children do the same kinds of things but in such dissimilar ways and yet, when they meet at summer camp, they find that their differences don't prevent them from being good friends. They share what they have in common and explore what they do not. In soft watercolor illustrations and with the clever use of insets and frames, the illustrator has helped bring to life two very different worlds—where a tree flames over a county postbox in the fall and where slush splashes on city boots in the winter. On one side of a double spread one finds the country life and on the other side one finds the city life. Then, as one comes towards the end of the book, both children come together on one page, sharing space and friendship. The author shows us that we can be very different because of where we come from and yet still have enough in common to become friends. A very lovely and special book. 2002, Henry Holt and Co,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Ben lives on a farm with cows, horses, and his dog. Jody lives in the city surrounded by skyscrapers and crowded buses. Each spread shows Ben and his environment on the left and Jody and her surroundings on the right. The matter-of-fact text describes their daily activities: how they ride the bus to school, shop with a parent for groceries, play baseball, and pick up their mail. Near the end of the story, the two meet at Camp Eagle Ridge, become friends, and agree to keep in touch during the school year. While the rich watercolor art depicting these warm and nurturing families is lovely to look at, sometimes Rand's use of borders is inconsistent. Also, in one spread, Ben and Jody go to their respective public libraries. In each illustration, a "window" showing each child inside the building is superimposed on the background art; this detracts from the beauty of the drawings behind the windows. The book is less a story than a study in contrasts. The point is that the youngsters are not all that different; they are as Cummins says, "-miles apart but two of a kind."-Leslie Barban, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cummins (Tomboy of the Air, 2001, etc.) gives us her take on the comparison of country life to city life in this typical, but cheerful, rendering. Readers follow the lives of Ben, who lives on a farm, and Jody, who lives in an apartment building, as a side-by-side description of each child's daily routine unfolds. When Ben wakes up he hears the sounds of birds and cows. When Jody wakes up she hears horns and sirens. Ben gets his mail at a mailbox down the road. Jody gets hers in the lobby of her apartment building--and so on. The author's simple language has an instructional feel and so do Rand's (Good Night, Hattie, My Dearie, My Dove, p. 345, etc.) skillfully detailed and literal watercolors. This combination comes off as a bit monotonous, but very accessible. What gives the narrative a nice twist is how Ben and Jody's lives intersect towards the end. Every summer Ben goes away to Camp Eagle Ridge. Then readers find out that Jody "is excited about her first time at Camp Eagle Ridge." The two meet at the camp, become friends, and afterwards Ben sends Jody a map of constellations he can see from his bedroom window. She sends him a city street map and marks her favorite places. Country life and city life seem as similar as they are different, but young readers might side with country life. Ben gets to cut down his own Christmas tree in the forest instead of buying it on the street like Jody. Ben also goes to Camp Eagle Ridge every year. What's more, he has a dog. There's something here for both kinds of kids to think about. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805064674
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
11/28/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
626,370
Product dimensions:
8.29(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.36(d)
Lexile:
AD1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Julie Cummins has milked cows and climbed silos, ridden subways and lived in a high-rise. She currently lives in New York City, where she has a spectacular view of the Empire State Building, and vacations in the country, where she enjoys the lake views.

Ted Rand has illustrated many books for children, including Knots on a Counting Rope, Here Are My Hands, and Barn Dance! He and his wife, writer Gloria Rand, live with on Mercer Island in Washington State.

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