When the sun goes down, the farmyard animals are supposed to go to sleep. But wait: “Chicks can’t sleep. Chicks can’t sleep. / Chicks can’t sleep / ’cause they got the beat!”
The sheep, cat, cow and dog can’t sleep either because they’ve got the beat, too. Here comes Farmer Sue, and she can’t sleep either, so everyone dances to the beat, “T-I-L-L… / … they fall in a heap! / Asleep!” The collage art (hand-painted on corrugated-looking and other found papers) is similar to the duo’s Dancing Feet! (2010) and a total departure from Brown’s style in his Arthur books. The jazzed-up animals are shaped with textured cut-out pieces that form the assemblage, which pops against the black-and-purple striped backgrounds. Colors are largely those found in nature, though judicious use of pinks on noses, tongues and the insides of ears keep the figures from looking anything but dull; they definitely have child appeal. The story ends with the rooster (a spectacle in blue, lavender and crimson) crowing, "Cock-a-doodle-doo! / I've got the beat!"
It won't take but one or two readings before kids join right in with the syncopated fun. (Picture book. 3-6)