In the Meadow by Yukiko Kato
A little girl and her family head to the river to play. On the shore, she spots a butterfly but when she tries to touch it, the butterfly flies away. The little girl follows into the meadow, filled with tall grasses. The grass tickles, trips, and sways. It is almost like a green sea around her, growing so tall that only her hat and face can be seen. The butterfly disappears, but a grasshopper lands on her arm and jumps away again. The little girl is alone in the tall grass, so she closes her eyes and listens to the noises of the meadow. And then she hears one more noise, her mother’s voice calling to her.
This picture book explores nature in a very personal way. All of the senses are involved in the description of the meadow, from the scent of the crushed grass under her feet, the way the grass feels on her skin, the way the grass looks as it sways, to the sounds of the meadow and its creatures. This immerses the reader in the experience of the meadow, both its beauty and the way you can lose yourself in it.
Kato’s words are simple, perfect for small children. They reveal the meadow slowly, building it into a full experience. Her illustrations are done in acrylic paints and oil pencils. They are done in delicate lines, yet have a freedom, a naturalness. The vast green of the field, dances on the page, at times detailed and at other times simply an expanse.
This lovely book is ideal to use with toddlers and preschoolers who will see themselves in the meadow. It would be a great piece to use with an art project where children draw their own meadows, or even build collages from found grasses. But primarily, it is a fresh, wonderful look at nature from a small child’s point of view. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.