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Reid, Barbara
Richmond Hill (Ont.), North Winds Press, 1992. 30pp, cloth, $14.95, ISBN 0-590-73656-6. Distributed by Scholastic Canada. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 2/Ages 1 to 7

Reviewed by Patricia L.M. Butler

Volume 20 Number 5
1992 October

Barbara Reid needs no introduction in the world of children's book illustration. Two by Two is destined to join, among others, her multi-award-winning book Have You Seen Birds? as a mandatory part of any home or library collection. This new work finds Reid providing not only the illustrations but also the text, and she proves herself just as adept in molding the lyrical rhythm of words as she is in creating her wonderful Plasticine art.

Two by Two retells the story of Noah's ark in poetry form, to be read or sung (the traditional tune is supplied). In either mode of delivery, it captures the imagination of both listener and reader with its flow and its wonderful accompanying illustrations. Reid uses, amongst other devices, alliteration and humour to retell the story of Noah, the animals, and God's promise that "after rain, the sun will shine."

With the exception of a few grins, all the animals, fish and insects that troop aboard Noah's big boat are rendered in accurate and detailed form, much to the delight of small readers learning the difference between a leopard and an ocelot. Even a full ark rolling on high seas shows every beak and crocodile tooth as it should be!

The animals are shown from several imaginative perspectives (close up, long distance, aerial) as they clamber aboard, complementing the interesting creature combinations: six black-and-white species appear as the animals come in six by six, eight types of cat pace in eight by eight, inch worms accompany polar bears, and sloths slink on upside down.

This well-produced, colourful picture-book is a "must have" addition to any collection. Young ones will enjoy and quickly learn the rhyme when it is sung, and older children will enjoy the chance to read the verses by themselves. The wide age range to which this book appeals makes it an excellent choice for any home, school or library collection.

Patricia L.M. Butler is a former teacher-librarian in West Vancouver, British Columbia

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