Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Four in All

Four in All

Adam S. Payne
Picture Book
For ages 2 to 4
Front Street, 2001   ISBN: 978-1886910164

A little girl is going outside to explore her world, a world full of amazing things and grand adventures. As she goes she sees all kinds of wondrous sights. She sees a new moon floating in a deep blue sky that is sprinkled with stars. She sees an old lady pushing a cart to market and fields of tiny plants. We watch her as she works to build a house from the ground up. In the nearby lake there is a bird, a fish, a bear, and snake who come to share a meal with the little girl in her new home. And, as the animals dance to the music made by a bell, a drum, a tambourine, and a violin, the little girl makes her way home to those who love her best.

This is an extraordinary journey into the world of magic or make-believe, depending on how you prefer to look at things. Using only fifty-six commonly used and familiar nouns, the author has created a whole world, rhyming the words in such a way that the narrative flows easily from page to page. Children can decide for themselves whether the girl imagines her adventures or whether they really happen. Best of all they can see how language has its own inherent beauty and that words can suggest a great many things.

Astonishingly lovely cut-paper collage art perfectly captures the essence of the words and the story. The artist is able to give his work great detail and depth through the clever use of color and textured papers.

Hopefully this highly talented mother and son team will create more books for us in the not too distant future.