Merle Peek is a free-lance illustrator who lives in Denver, Colorado. He received his BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts, and enjoys ice-dancing and riding roller coasters as well as illustrating children's books. James Cross Giblin (1933-2016) was the author of more than twenty critically acclaimed books for young people. His book The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler received the Robert F. Sibert Award for Informational Books.
Peek appends a note about his version of the Texas folk song, along with invitations for children to make up their own lines to sing when they master the easy musical arrangement appended. Starting with dandy black-and-white drawings of a woodland, Peek gradually builds up to full-color illustrations of a gala occasion. Flashes of red and green show up first when Mary Squirrel and Henry Raccoon meet on the way to Kate Bear's birthday party. The revelry at the gathering is heightened by Kate's yellow sweater, the blue, purple, orange, etc., in the guests' costumes. Standout details include the Bears' formal garden in bloom, status-symbol house furnishing (marble statues of twin bears flank the fireplace and support the mantel), imposing birthday cake et al. The towering confection is an uncommon treat; so is the book.(37)
A clever extension of a classic American folk song that will be a boon to youngsters' language development. School Library Journal