In this debut picture book, farm animals learn how to resolve conflicts and share resources without fighting.
On a sunny day, a tranquil barnyard features the horses King and Ol’ Dot; Clover, the goat; Grey Donkey; Portland Pig; and Mrs. McCloud, the owl, who perches in the barn window. But when it begins to rain, the largest animal, King, takes up all the room in the yard’s only shelter, a small overhang. The others become wet and angry. But Mrs. McCloud, the group’s peacemaker, helps. By using STOP—that is, Stop and breathe; Tell how you feel; Open your mind; and Plan a deal—the animals figure out a solution. Carefully fitting around and underneath King, they can all use the shelter, and calm is restored. An appended guide for parents and educators includes further questions, activities, and information. In her book, Penshorn’s rhyme and meter should appeal to children but can be shaky or forced: “The droplets smacked hard on their hair and their hides, / and it hurt! So they grumbled and their anger did rise.” The story clearly explains how the STOP process works, with good examples, but doesn’t tackle what to do if explaining your feelings isn’t enough to get someone else to change—or why the farmer can’t build a bigger shelter. The illustrations by Keith (Seafoam #2, 2017, etc.) give the animals expressive faces and bodies that help convey their emotions.
Delivers some useful information for school and home about finding peaceful solutions.