Many of Jane Yolen's picture books have made it on my all time favorites list: Owl Moon, All Those Secrets of the World, Grandad Bill's Song, Before the Storm... (and her poetry books).
I just ran across The Scarecrow's Dance and I think it's going to join them. In this book, a tattered scarecrow leaps into the sky to dance at dusk. There's something simple, humbling, natural and almost reverent about this book... as the scarecrow comes to life and dances through the pages accompanied by Jane Yolen's wonderful sense of word. The scarecrow peers through the window of the farmer's son who is praying for the scarecrow and his job of protecting the crops. And then, as he ends his dance, the scarecrow begins to think about purpose and his own thoughts about "life."
It's a beautiful book. The illustrations are by Bagram Ibatoulline (who illustrated Great Joy by Kate diCamillo). There's something haunting and mystical about the illustrations and the color palette took my breath away. A wonderful cousin text to Cynthia Rylant's Scarecrow...
This book is one of the picture books I'll keep on our coffee table this fall... just as a reminder of what we sometimes take for granted.