Turns out he was following more than just the chickens….
Donkey politely but urgently wakes the farmer, a white man in pig-adorned pajamas, at 5:05 a.m. to tell him the pigs have escaped and are headed to town. The farmer doesn’t believe his donkey. An hour later, Donkey wakes the farmer again to tell him the cow has escaped—and so have the sheep. While the farmer’s making coffee at 6:25, Donkey tells him the chickens and the goats are gone too…turns out the fair is on, and every animal is headed there. The man and his ass get on the tractor (the goats drove off in the truck) and head out to capture the contrary critters. After the roundup, the farmer wonders how this could have happened. Donkey says, “I believe you left the barn door open, Sir.” James’ debut farm fable is told entirely in pictures and dialogue. Alternating between Donkey and the farmer’s conversation, laid out on full- and double-page spreads in green and red type, respectively, is the speech-balloon dialogue of the runaway animals, drawn in comic-style panels that depict them on the way to and having fun at the fair. Herrod’s stubby-legged, pudgy, happy farm animals are pretty funny riding the roller coaster, going down a water slide, zooming on a zip line. The low-key humor—particularly the uber-serious Donkey’s deadpan politeness—and simple story are enjoyable, but, frustratingly, the tale never takes advantage of the joke its title riffs on.
Middle-of-the-road farm fare. (Picture book. 3-7)