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To and Fro, Fast and Slow

To and Fro, Fast and Slow

by Durga Bernhard

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This poignant book uses a basic yet effective rhythm to tell the tale of a little girl and the visits she takes between her mother's house in the country and her father's house in the city. The author/illustrator skillfully blends an exploration of country and city life with the deeper story of a child finding the balance between the homes of two parents. No matter who she visits and what the differences in lifestyles may be, this little girl feels loved, welcomed and truly at home. Both homes are warm and both parents' hearts are filled with love. Each page contains two pictures and two opposite words, such as "south and north, back and forth, rainy and sunny, sad and funny," depicting what this child experiences in both the city and country. The detail and emotion contained in this seemingly simple book will touch all family members. 2001, Walker & Company, $16.85 and $15.95. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Catherine Campbell Wright
School Library Journal
PreS-K-This unusual concept book begins by contrasting the two worlds in which a young girl lives. "South" is printed above a mid-page horizontal line, and mother and daughter are shown driving along a country road. Below the line, the text reads "& north," with father and daughter illustrated in a cityscape. The following page portrays Dad delivering the child to her mother's place in the country. Opposite, Mom is taking her to Dad's city apartment. The texts read "back" and "forth," respectively. "Work" and "play," a double-page spread, is divided in half, with work at Mom's shown on the left top and work at Dad's on the right. "Play" is similarly treated on the bottom of the pages. Some of the other opposites illustrated are: rainy/sunny, sad/funny, in/out, fast/slow, low/high, noisy/quiet, and night/day. "To" and "fro" are cleverly done as a spread, with the little girl sitting on a swing in a city playground. On the final page the child is shown greeting Mom's dog "hello" and giving Dad's cat a "good-bye" hug. In each scene, the daughter and her parent are portrayed in engaging, primitive-style, gouache illustrations. This engaging book is best shared one-on-one to appreciate the soft hues and warm, cozy details.-Karen Land, Greenport Public School, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Balancing city and country scenes, this is a collection of opposites, both stated and unstated. The city features neon lights, traffic, tall buildings, people, and shopping, while the country is filled with nature, houses, few people, picnics, and children playing outdoors. Two large words and an ampersand on each page are the only text, but even this sometimes get lost on the busy pages, as not all of them are against solid backgrounds. The format of the book varies, beginning with easily discernible splits between top and bottom, and left and right. It gradually progresses to spreads that feature a complete set of opposites on both pages, as well as spreads divided into fourths that mix and match opposites. Several of the pairs are rather difficult to portray pictorially-"back & forth," "to & fro," "hello & good-bye"-and children will have difficulty determining the action in these pages. In addition, the very first pair, the stereotypically urban north and rural south, are on a page split in half . . . south is on top, and north is on the bottom. The softly-colored illustrations are the strong points, filled with minute details such as the spider web hanging from the rural mail box, and the subway grating and trash cans peculiar to the city. The same young girl is featured throughout, pictured with her father in the city scenes, her mother in the country. Unfortunately, Bernhard's second foray into the world of opposites is less successful than her first (Earth, Sky, Wet, Dry, 2000). (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Walker & Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.91(w) x 10.58(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

south & north

back & forth

over under

work & play

rainy sunny

sad & funny

in & out

night & day

to & fro

fast & slow

full & empty

Excerpted from TO & FRO FAST & SLOW by DURGA BERNHARD. Copyright © 2001 by Durga Bernhard. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Definer of a Nation

By Jean Edward Smith

Henry Holt and Company

Copyright © 1996 Jean Edward Smith. All rights reserved.

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