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Down by the Cool of the Pool


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A wonderful watery and whimsical rhyming romp!

About the Author

Tony Mitton has written a series of successful Raps for Orchard and won the Smarties Silver Award for The Red and White Spotted Handkerchief. He lives in Cambridge. Guy Parker-Rees was born in Zimbabwe and came to England as a child. He also illustrated Orchard's bestselling Giraffes Can't Dance. He lives in North London.


PreS-Gr 2-Down by the cool of the pool, Frog cries, "Wheeeee! Can you dance like me?" This is the invitation for a lively day by the water. Joining Frog are Duck, Pig, Sheep, Cat, Dog, Goat, Pony, Donkey, and Cow, all cavorting around the pond and each doing its own dance. This frolicking mass of animals eventually tumbles into the water with a mighty splash. Are they upset? No, they just turn the soaking into a party. This is an enjoyable summertime book, packed with delightful inhabitants and bright, energetic colors. Parker-Rees's spreads radiate the yellow heat of the sun, while the one picture with all the critters in the pool is done in a cooling blue. The often-alliterative descriptions of the animals sound wonderful, but can trip the unpracticed tongue. The rhyme and illustrations combine so joyfully that storytime listeners will want to get up and dance, too.-Elaine Lesh Morgan, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

The sun may be setting, but the wackiness is escalating on the shores of the farm pond. "Wheeeee!" proclaims a wide-eyed frog as it jets into the air, "Can you dance like me?" A duck, a pig and a sheep are the first animals to rise to the challenge, and Mitton (Busy Boats), building up the momentum, begins by patterning their respective responses in cumulative verse. As more and more critters join in, each proud of its own inimitable style ("Playful Pony began to prance. Donkey drummed his hoofbeat dance"), Mitton shifts the narrative's structure to move the action resolutely forward toward a literally splashy climax, in which everyone falls in the water. Parker-Rees (Giraffes Can't Dance) ratchets up the goofiness of his kinetic watercolor cartoons by giving his animal stars the arm and leg extensions of ballerinas but the bodies of couch potatoes; their faces radiate an infectious silliness. The typography, too, enters into the spirit by shimmying and bouncing through the full-bleed spreads. Kids will likely want to dance or chant along; fortunately, the author and artist wind down the energy as effectively as they turn it up. Ages 2-5. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

The lively language and rhythm of this tale makes this a great choice for reading aloud * The federation of Children's Book Groups *
A lot of fun to read, underpinned with some serious language work * Child Education *
A bouncy rhyming text with plenty of action and opportunities for joining in * Times Educational Supplement *

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