" ‘It's time!' said the dog / on the old barn floor. / ‘Good news!' said the cat, / and she ran out the door." Part of the Growing Tree series, this enjoyable barnyard tale of a dog about to give birth is conveyed with rhythmic quatrains and a predictable pattern. Word travels quickly on the farm as each animal takes its turn informing another (" ‘It's time!' called the cat / to the pig in the pen" and " ‘It's time called the pig, / and the hen hollered, ‘Wow!' ") Broad, textured brushstrokes give Newton's (Where Are My Chicks?
, 2002, etc.) full-bleed illustrations a folkloric feel; uncluttered, they put the focus on the animals, making it easier for youngsters to connect text and image. Before long, all the animals have assembled; in one spread, Newton pictures them bounding across a lush, green meadow, bodies elongated and legs outstretched. Spread across the length of the page, another scene shows the animals, with wide-eyed expressions, as they hang their heads over the barn door. The tale concludes by cycling back to the start: " ‘Yes, it's time!' said the dog. / ‘Come and look over here.' " Unfortunately, the final illustration falters, as the puppies appear too big to be newborn (two of them together nearly match the size of their mother). Still, the structure will engage the youngest audience and "Tips for reading and sharing" suggest interactive teaching strategies for parents. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >