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ON THE FARM by David Elliott


by David Elliott & illustrated by Holly Meade

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: March 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3322-6
Publisher: Candlewick

Energetic woodcuts accompany playfully simple poems as they give young readers an engaging tour of the barnyard. From the usual suspects—rooster, cow, sheep—to some of the less celebrated denizens of the farm—snake, bees, turtle—each poem varies to suit its subject. The barn cat’s verse is succinct: “Mice / had better / think twice.” The snake’s winds its way down the page in sinuous shape. At their best, Elliott’s images are unexpected and all the more lovely: The turtle “Lifts her fossil head / and blinks / one, two, three / times in the awful light.” Others are not so successful, but Meade’s illustrations give them credence: The rooster “Crows and struts. / He’s got feathers! / He’s got guts!” This rhythmic but rather opaque assertion is accompanied by an oversized rooster who dominates the foreground; eyes shut in concentration, he levitates himself with the force of his crow—the very embodiment of “guts.” Farmyard books are a dime a dozen, but this one is a worthwhile addition, for those poems that reach beyond the ordinary and for the good-natured illustrations that complement them. (Picture book/poetry. 2-5)