Illustrated by Ezra

Over in the Meadow

Four Winds Press (now Viking), 1971

An Appalachian counting rhyme evokes a lush meadow bustling with activity—one turtle digs, two fish swim and so on, up to 10 little fireflies that shine in the night. Keats’s vibrant illustrations perfectly complement this traditional verse, sure to delight the youngest reader.

Take a Closer Look

Does this poem sound familiar? That’s because Over in the Meadow is based on a traditional counting rhyme that has been recited and recorded countless times. Olive A. Wadsworth’s version from 1870 inspired Ezra to illustrate its timeless scenes of work, play and family in the natural world. The first thing you notice in his pictures is movement—leaves falling, fish diving, a dragonfly in the air. The poem’s playful rhythm and keen observation is matched by Ezra’s lively mix of color, form and detail. But why have the toads in Olive’s verse become turtles in this edition? Ezra never explained, but the gorgeous designs on the turtle shells seems like a clue.