Illustrations © 2006 Deborah Allwright, reproduced by permission of Egmont.
A book to sing along to - best with a party of children - is She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain by Jonathan Emmett. We all remember the tune (in the book if not) and that “she’ll be wearing pink pyjamas”, but who knew that “They are flowery and frilly, / And they make her look quite silly” or that “she” is Bonnie Bandit? Deborah Allwright’s cartoony illustrations express the brio of the song. A surefire ice-breaker. Yee-hah!
Nicolette Jones, THE SUNDAY TIMES
In this version of the traditional American folk song, the heroine is a feisty little girl in pink pajamas, "flowery and frilly,/and they make her look quite silly." Her six white horses have names like Moonbeam and Stardust. When she comes, she will be doing remarkable things like "juggling with jelly" ("Squish-Splat!"), dancing across the rooftops ("Yee-Ha!"), and painting the whole town plum so "the place won't look so glum." A turquoise sky shows off white cowboy-hat clouds, and two foldout pages open wide like green saloon doors to welcome her. The joyful children and animals playing instruments who go out to meet her are small against the landscape, which is done in a palette of Southwestern colors. These illustrations are as lively as the new verses and call for another round of singing, using the hand motions given at the end of the book.
Mary Jean Smith, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Based on the familiar song, a guitar-playing cactus leads us all in a hoot'nanny of a ride through the mountains where we meet a musical band of critters, a whole posse of young 'uns and a crazy kid wearing a dandy pair of pink pyjamas! A great song to join in with round the campfire... again and again.
Jana Novotny Hunter, ARMADILLO MAGAZINE
Sing along, dance along and follow the adventures of rootin' tootin' frontier Babe. After a short introduction, the text swings into multiple verses of the title tune. Who knew there were so many? "She'll dance across the rooftops" and "she'll paint the whole town purple" are just two. Each verse also has its own fun exclamation for listeners to shout out or sing, from "Toot-Toot!" to "Tee-Hee!" to "Squish-Splat!" Backmatter even includes pictured instructions on how to perform each exclamation. (For "Squish-Splat," you imagine juggling jelly with both hands.) Another surprise is a pair of giant saloon-door pages that open out to reveal Babe and all of her partying friends waiting to come in. Dancing type adds energy to Emmett's Wild West hokey pokey, as do Allwright's lively illustrations full of dancing, jiggling chickens, prairie dogs, owls and, of course, kids. Yee-Ha!
Every now and then a picture book crosses my desk that is impossible to resist ... this delightful rendition of the classic song is all one could hope for. With suggested actions for each verse, loads of extra details (Her pajamas are ‘flowery and frilly, and they make her look quite silly‘) and eye-popping illustrations, this gem will appeal to adults who fondly remember belting out the song and youngsters who will love to ‘Slurp-slurp, Bish- Bosh, Toot-Toot‘ and ‘Yee-Ha‘
The book that stopped me in my tracks this week is a children's picture book. I'm susceptible to them, too, but this one is rather unlikely. I defy any grandparent to resist singing along with She'll be coming round the mountain (Toot, toot) by Jonathan Emmett. Gloriously, racily illustrated, with irresistible sound effects, it should be on every grandparent's bottom shelf. Except it will be off the shelf as often as it's on.