Friday, June 14, 2019

Review - Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink

Sharon, Lois & Bram's Skinnamarink
by Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, Bram Morrison & Randi Hampson
illustrated by Qin Leng
Date: 2019
Publisher: Tundra Books (NY)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children's entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! "Skinnamarink" is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.

What does "skinnamarink" mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly - especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together.

Through Qin Leng's wonderfully imaginative illustrations, this delightful picture book tells the story of a community coming together. Young and old, from little mice to a big elephant, people and animals gather into a spontaneous parade as they follow the sound of music.

Sharon, Lois and Bram formed as a trio of children's entertainers in Toronto in 1978 and went on to create two top-rated children's television shows, most notably The Elephant Show, and to release 21 full-length albums (many of which reached gold, platinum, double platinum and triple platinum). In 2018, Sharon and Bram celebrated their 40th anniversary and they continue to entertain children and share their message of love.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book brings back so many memories! Being a child of the '80s, Sharon, Lois & Bram provided part of the soundtrack to my early years. "Skinnamarink" is probably their most famous song, and it's a fun one, complete with actions that accompany the words. This book takes that simple song, adds some new verses, and illustrates the whole thing to near perfection.

I must say, I was a bit nervous when I read that there were some new verses here. But they fit in perfectly with the original song. (And the book would've been really short without them!) The rhyme and rhythm is just about perfect, and if you're familiar with the original song, you can see the ease with which the new words work.

Qin Leng's illustrations are sort of messy-looking, but also childlike and very fun. So many people (and creatures!) get into the song, so by the end of the book, everyone's running around with a smile on their face and love in their heart. It might sound corny, but it's true. This book made me smile... and I hope this song will make a whole new generation of kids smile, too.

Thank you to NetGalley and Tundra Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.71 out of 5

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