Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Marsha Wilson Chall
Illustrator: Heather M. Solomon
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
A young boy goes with his family to visit his grandparents’ farm. They promise him there is a secret waiting for him, but when he arrives, no one will tell him what the secret is. He searches all over the farm to discover the secret, exploring fields and the barn, questioning animals. He enjoys time with his grandparents roasting marshmallows and helping collect eggs. Finally, he finds the farm cat’s litter of new kittens. He chooses one to keep and names it Secret.
The rhyming narration of this book is highly whimsical and poetic. The words alone provide vivid imagery. The story meanders in a nostalgic sort of way instead of making an effort to get right to the point. The emphasis is definitely on the enjoyment of the experience rather than the ultimate resolution of the mystery. The art style seems to be mixed media, part watercolor and part collage. The variety of textures contrast well and fill every page with a wash of color. The mood of the scenes change mostly based on the lighting available, whether night or day. The characters’ faces have enough realism that they give the impression of having been painted from a reference photo.