Nina Crews has a lot in common with Ezra Jack Keats. A fellow New Yorker, she sets her stories in the city, uses collage and cites The Snowy Day as an inspiration. She favors photo-collage to create a fresh, realistic look that lets the magic of storytelling shine through. Her retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, The Neighborhood Mother Goose, and her original stories set wonderful scenes for young readers to enter. Here is Nina’s take on Ezra’s illustrations of an old children’s poem.
Learn more about Nina Crews at www.ninacrews.com.
Over in the Meadow is not your typical Ezra Jack Keats book. Peter is not here, nor is Louie, Jennie or Peter’s dog, Willie. We are not in the city anymore. But it is typical Keats in so many important ways. The art is gorgeous, immersive and exuberant. The settings are simple but give the same, strong sense of place we find in his urban scenes. The animal families interact with each other in a lively, expressive way just as the children do in his other books.
I can imagine why Keats might have been drawn to this cheerful counting rhyme. The tone is light and playful and every animal family does something that is true to who and what they are—bees buzz and lizards bask. This honesty is one of the things I love most about Ezra Jack Keats’s work. It is one of the reasons the work resonates with readers today. His books speak simply and joyfully of the world around us. Over the Meadow may not be the book we think of when we think of his work, but, in fact, it is a very typical Keats book!”