Over in the Forest

February 22nd, 2012 · 9 Comments · Books

Review By HOMA WOODRUM

Much like Jo MacDonald Had a Garden and generously provided in review form from the same publisher, Over in the Forest: Come and Take a Peek is patterned after a well known childhood song, “Over in the Meadow.” Counting, nature, animal families, and animal tracks all come into play as the song progresses, illustrated by Jill Dubin and written by Marianne Berkes. Starting from one, we see mother animals with their babies. For example for the number five involves a turkey family:

Over in the forest
Where wild berries thrive
Lived an old mother turkey
And her little poults five.

“Scratch,” said the mother.
“We scratch,” said the five.
So they scratched on the ground
Where the wild berries thrive.

The animals featured are beavers, deer, possums, turtles, turkeys, squirrels, woodpeckers, raccoons, skunks, and foxes. My favorite extra in the book were the animal tracks on each page that matched the subject animals. Cultivating an interest in the natural world, as well as animals in their natural habitats, makes this a great choice for veg families. A number of pages at the end of the book act as a teaching guide useful for expanding on the lessons of the book. I know my three year old daughter was especially excited about footprints after we read this together.

Well crafted books are a treat and this definitely falls into that category. The stated age range is 3 to 8 but I imagine at each age and stage different aspects of this book will be of interest, even if your singing voice (like mine) is not always up to the task. My favorite sung version of “Over in the Meadow,” if you are looking for the song, is by Raffi.

What animal-themed children’s tune is your favorite?

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Jessica

    I like Itsy-Bitsy Spider. We don’t listen to a whole lot of children’s music though — and it’s funny the “lyrics” my daughter will sing to music geared to adults. For example, instead of “Squalor Victoria” (a National song), she sings “Squirrel Victorious!”

  • Homa

    The kids love itsy bitsy spider! The second verse is great, have you heard of it? Here is the one I’ve heard: “And then the little spider began to weave her thread / of gossamer and silk, she spun herself a bed / round and round she went, until all her work was done / and soon the magic web lay gleaming in the sun.”

  • Jessica

    I hadn’t heard that! It’s beautiful.

  • Marianne Berkes

    Thank you, Homa, for reviewing my latest book.
    I am so pleased that you and your daughter enjoyed it, especially the animal tracks on each page. In the “Over” books I’ve written, teachers, parents and kids can “cultivate an interest in the natural world” as you put it.
    You and your daughter might also enjoy my other habitat books. You can use the “Over in the Meadow” melody for each one of them. I, too, love “Raffi” and used his songs and books often in my storytimes for young children when I was a librarian. And, if you want to hear me singing it (of course I’m no Raffi”) please go to http://www.dawnpub.com and click onto “Authors and Illustrators”. Scroll down past my books and you will see “Media” in the right hand column. At the very end, look for “Over in the Ocean” (song) and “Over in the Jungle” (song.) Happy Reading — and Singing!

  • Homa

    We just listened to “Over in the Jungle” – my 18 month old bobbed his head in time with the piano. :) I will have to try having the kids do the actions in the book. We love our library storytimes, they are such a great resource! I first heard Raffi played there. Thank you for sharing the additional resources, what a great way to use the internet to complement books.

  • Debra

    I will have to look for this one, my kindergarten students love to start math time with a counting story of some sort.

  • Debra

    Wow! I finally got my hands on a copy of this book and my kindergarten class loves it! “Over in the Forest” has it all–animals and their babies, numbers, rhyming, parts of speech (we’ve been learning about verbs)–I especially enjoy the way the lovely words sound when this book is read aloud, it’s so peaceful and sweet. Beautifully written and cleverly illustrated, my students especially enjoyed the extra touches of the animal tracks and the small animals on each page they had to search for. Thank you for featuring this book, it’s one of my new favorites! Our school library just received a grant to purchase new books for our library, I am going to recommend this author :)

  • Homa

    So glad they liked it, Debra!

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