Books by Barry Downard

THE RACE OF THE CENTURY by Barry Downard
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 8, 2008

Once again, "slow and steady" leads to a "Bad Hare Day." Grumbling Tom Tortoise slips on a sweatband and squares off against sleekly furred but human-shaped Flash Harry Hare as the citizens of Critterville and—thanks to "Don Key's Wide World of Sports"—TV audiences around the world look on in wide-eyed excitement. Downard gives the old fable a frenetic cast, with digitally reworked photo montages that spill past page edges and feature livestock, billboards, newspaper headlines, articles of sportswear and more jammed into the foregrounds. The writing is less sophisticated than the art—"Snoozing Flash Harry Hare woke with a start, at the exact same moment Tom Tortoise was about to finish!"—and like Margery Cuyler's Road Signs: A Harey Race With A Tortoise, illustrated by Steven Haskamp (2000), or Downard's own version of the "Little Red Hen" (2004), this iteration will appeal most to readers already familiar with the basic story. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)Read full book review >
THE LITTLE RED HEN by Barry Downard
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2004

Computerized photomontages render the traditional text of this favorite classic in an offbeat, anthropomorphized scat style. Little Red Hen is portrayed with boots (green in one scene, red in another), hat, and lavender-blue eyeglasses as the duck, pig, and cat, in a variety of guises, decline to help, because they're wearing headphones and sunglasses, playing cards and pool, watching "Hairy Trotter" on TV, and playing checkers with bottle caps. Though the artistic method is interesting, the background images are dark and murky and at times the overlay effect muddles and whiffles the composition. The adult cleverness doesn't translate into child appeal nor is it a surrogate for the inveterate Galdone version or Philemon Sturges's zany Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza (1999). Only half-baked. (Picture book/folktale. 3-6)Read full book review >