Cover of All in the Woodland Early: An ABC Book by Jane Yolen

All in the Woodland Early: An ABC Book

Illustrated by Jane Breskin Zalben
William Collins, 1979, Boyds Mills 1991
ISBN# 0-529-05508-2 William Collins hardcover
ISBN# 0-399-20969-7 Philomel paperback
ISBN# 1-878093-62-2 Boyds Mills hardcover
ISBN# 1-56397-645-5 Boyds Mills paperback

This rhymed ABC book was inspired by an old folksong that begins “One morning, one morning, one morning in May, I saw a young couple a-making their way.” The song is actually one of those love-gone-awry ballads. Originally published by Philomel Books, this was a companion to AN INVITATION TO THE BUTTERFLY BALL which Jane Zalben and I had done earlier. Aren’t her pictures wonderful! I wrote the music in the back, which took lots longer to do than the actual book. When both Philomel editions went out of print, Boyds Mills Press decided to do its own edition.

What reviewers have said:

  • “In a carefully designed book, the result of a felicitous collaboration, each letter of the alphabet is represented by a bird, an animal, or an insect found in the North American woodlands. Some creatures, like the chipmunk, deer, or mouse, are familiar; others, like the vole, xyleborous, or zemmi, have an exotic appeal. All members of the marvelous menagerie are introduced through a series of lyrical verses with the jaunty rhythm of traditional rhymes. The music for the poem with a simple piano accompaniment is printed at the end of the book. Beautifully executed, delicate full-color illustrations varied in size and placement show the woodland inhabitants lovingly and meticulously reduced; several are placed with the letters they represent, suggesting illuminated manuscripts. Text and pictures complement one another in tone and style, creating a timeless feeling and evoking the past without becoming coy or sentimental. And the final double-page spread provides an indication of the relative sizes of the characters, while offering the child an opportunity to identify the fauna once more. ” — Horn Book
  • “In Jane Yolen’s All in the Woodland Early: An ABC Book, realistically depicted, elegantly crafted art by Jane Breskin Zalben begins with ant and ends with zemmi. Each page features the repeated line of the book’s title, in this attractive book first published in 1979.” — Book Links
  • “A young girl winds her way through the alphabet, animal by animal, as she walks through the forest.This cumulative tale can also be sung; the music is included at the end. The question-and-answer refrain leads to a most satisfying finale.The delicate paintings are integrated with the text, forming an appealing and decorative composition. This is a welcome reissue, sure to please a new generation of children.” — Sesame Street Parents’ Guide