Book cover for The Cheese

The Cheese

by Margie Palanti

Illustrated by Steve Johnson


Palatini's uproarious spoof on "The Farmer in the Dell" begins at the end of the song: the cheese stands alone. While eyeing the solitary chunk of cheddar in a field, a rat rethinks the order of things: "Give me one good reason why the cheese stands alone . . . Why should good food go to waste because of some silly song?" Dashing off for a nosh, he encounters the cat, who joins him in his trot toward the cheese. Then the dog appears, as well as the rest of the song's characters, who make a grand picnic from the towering cheese wedge. Children will easily overlook the flat ending as they delight in Palatini's raucous twist on the ubiquitous song (the original's lyrics close the book). The high-energy, mixed-media illustrations, which appear in multiple, comics-style frames on several spreads, turn up the silliness with the cast of expressive animals—the cunning rat, the airhead dog—who speak in funny, sly asides. Best for small groups, who can view the detailed pictures up close, this will be a read-aloud hit. -From Booklist