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Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the Meadow, written by Yukiko Kato and illustrated by Komako Sakai, with translation by Yuki Kaneko. Enchanted Lion, 2011. $17.95 ages 3 and up

a butterfly!
It's perching on a stone.
It has beautiful orange wings with teeny black dots.
When I try to touch it
the butterfly flutters away into the meadow.
Wait, wait, butterfly!"

The family has come to the river to play, enjoying the beauty of the day and of their environment. When a butterfly happens by, the wee one follows along as it takes a path into the meadow and beyond. It moves quickly and she tries to do the same.

As she goes she smells the 'toothpaste' scent of flowers, feels the tickle of the grass on her legs and the light touch of the breeze in her hair. Soon she is surrounded, only her hat showing above the tall plants. The butterfly has disappeared and so has her family.  A grasshopper lands, then bounces away...leaving her alone and lonely.

She closes her eyes to the fear, and hears the many sounds around her. The river seems far off; then she hears the best sound in the world...her mother's voice. She opens her eyes to a peaceful smile and the warmth of her mother's presence. All is well!

Because it is told in first person, we feel an immediate affinity to the wee one as we make the journey with her. The artwork is perfect in tone and adds the gentlest touch to this charming story of a girl and her love of nature.  The green world that offers an open invitation for exploration is lush and soothing. The emotions felt are evident in each step she takes offering the reader a personal connection to this little girl and her newest adventure.

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