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Book cover of Four in All

Four in All

by Nina Payne, Handprint, Adam S. Payne

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
ISBN: 9781886910164

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Synopsis of Four in All

A unique collaboration between a mother and son, Four in All finds pleasant patterns by grouping four related things together, such as "eyes ears nose mouth," "sun moon stars sky," "ocean river puddle lake," and "mother father son daughter." This enchanting book features 14 such groupings, each illustrated by an intricately cut, richly colored collage.

Publishers Weekly

It is hard to say which is more poetic Nina Payne's (All the Day Long) exceptionally well-crafted text or her son's immaculately executed and thoughtfully conceived cut-paper collages. The text, a tightly edited, rhyming sequence of four-noun lines, conjures a child's world and stresses its stability: "eyes ears nose mouth/ east west north south/ oats wheat corn rye/ sun moon stars sky." The art, like the text, testifies to a deceptive modesty. The highly detailed collages show bucolic scenes: the child protagonist peeps out from behind a leafy tree, then stands at a crossroads and next embarks upon a narrow bridge. The palette of muted, almost earthy purples and blues, greens and reds, creates the sense of unbreakable calm; the humble 8" x 8" trim size reinforces the quietness of the Paynes' approach. All this understatement, however, gives life to the ambitiousness of their work. The child's journey is archetypal, flowing freely into fantasy (e.g., the quartet of "bear bird fish snake" joins the girl at the table for "fork plate knife spoon") and back into the safety of home (in the end, the girl rushes back toward her house, where her family waits outside: "mother father son daughter"). Very young children in particular will delight in the sturdiness of the language; and readers of all ages will want to keep an eye on a promising new illustrator. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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