Books by Jim McFarland

MOUSE WENT OUT TO GET A SNACK by Lyn Rossiter McFarland
ANIMALS
Released: March 15, 2005

Mouse, seeking a small snack, stumbles onto a feast—a seemingly abandoned banquet table piled high with everything from colorful cupcakes to tasty tacos. He flexes his tiny muscles, cracks his knuckles and commences to hurl a plate, and then some food, off the table: "1 piece of cheese / 2 plump plums, 3 baby carrots"... all the way to "10 slices of chocolate cake." Of course, as can happen in mouse books, a cat appears on the scene. Mouse hoists his heaping plate above his head and skedaddles, only to realize his mouse hole will not accommodate the large snack. Oh, well. One piece of cheese—and a flat cat smashed by a flying plate—are good enough for one small mouse anyway. While the simple story isn't groundbreaking, preschoolers will enjoy the sneaky-mouse pacing, food-hurling and near-misses. The almost frame-by-frame, perspective-switching illustrations of the rather ratty, spindly Mouse are comical and endearing, making this a light but tasty morsel. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
WIDGET & THE PUPPY by Lyn Rossiter McFarland
ANIMALS
Released: Aug. 18, 2004

In their second story starring a white dog named Widget, the McFarlands introduce a new character, a bouncy, black-and-white (nameless) puppy. The stray puppy enters the household through the cat door and joins Mrs. Diggs, Widget the dog, and six female cats, always referred to as "the girls." The newcomer engages in various puppy activities and interactions with Widget and the cats, which results in exhausting Widget, who's supposed to be puppy-sitting. The watercolor-and-ink illustrations are charming and full of action, with scenes of the puppy leaping into a frog pond, falling into a trashcan, and tunneling into a groundhog's hole. The text is not as energetic as the illustrations, though, and some sentences drag while corresponding illustrations sparkle with the energy of the two appealing canines. References to the six cats as "the girls" will be a bit confusing to literal-minded preschoolers who may also need help understanding why the puppy is as big as the full-grown Widget. The illustrations override these drawbacks, however, and Widget and the cats seem destined for more adventures with their new puppy friend, who definitely needs a name. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
WIDGET by Lyn Rossiter McFarland
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 5, 2001

Widget, a small, stray, furry white dog the size of a West Highland terrier, finds the perfect home with Mrs. Diggs. Unfortunately, six cats that she calls collectively "the girls" already reside with her. Wandering through a cat door of the cozy cottage and spying six bowls of food, six comfy cat beds, and six cats, Widget makes a beeline for the food, but Mrs. Diggs blocks his path. "Why, you poor thing," says Mrs. Diggs. "I wish you could stay. But I am afraid the girls just can't stand dogs." Widget really wants to stay: " ‘Meow?' said Widget." Putting on his best cat imitation, when the girls puff up and hiss, so does he. When the girls growl, Widget purrs. Before long, the girls accept Widget as one of their own and they play, eat, and chase mice together. Shocked and dismayed when Mrs. Diggs falls and needs help, it is then that the girls discover there are times when only a dog will do. McFarland's (Pirate's Parrot, 2000) soft watercolors offer an expressive line of animal movements and facial expressions to support the quiet humor. This is a delightful read-aloud with short, pithy sentences and illustrations that place the reader right at eye-level with the animals' point of view, only glimpsing Mrs. Diggs, but rarely above the knees. The girls, having learned how, would surely give three barks for Widget. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >