Ilse Plume, who was awarded a Caldecott Honor for her interpretation of The Bremen Town Musicians, gives tender, rustic life to the song lyrics for The Farmer in the Dell. Pennsylvania Dutch motifs and influences infuse her colored-pencil illustrations as the farmer takes a wife, who takes a child, who takes a nurse and so on. Songsheets serve as endpapers, bordered with tiny hearts, flowers and birds, which also appear on the family's farm buildings and furniture. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Caldecott Honor-artist Plume puts an Amish spin on the oft-sung favorite with lovely, old-fashioned, colored-pencil scenes and border designs inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch motifs and folk art. When "heigh-ho the derry-o," the farmer in the dell makes his first appearance, he's wearing overalls and scattering corn for the chickens and geese. Beautiful rolling hills and farm buildings with traditional decorative "hex signs" back the tranquil summer scene. The season shifts to autumn when "the farmer takes a wife," and it is a snowy winter when "the wife takes a child." The scenes bustle with happy family activity until the inevitable, poignant moment when "the cheese stands alone." The back matter of this creamy-papered, unusually horizontal book includes detailed instructions on how to play the song-based circle game; complete lyrics; information on the Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired artwork and clothing and the German-born illustrator's own Pennsylvania connection; and the musical notation for the first verse of the song. An elegant tribute to an American classic. (Picture book. 4-8)