Creatures large and small take shelter together in a warm barn in this evocative collaboration with text by Brown and illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Pinkney.
The first few pages are related in rhyming text, while the illustrations set the scene with a traditional red barn and fall leaves blowing in a gusty wind. The text then shifts to prose that describes various animals coming into the barn, including field mice, horses, bats, and goats. A calf is born in the barn, and the brown-skinned farmer names her Winter Morn. The farmer’s son, who has brown skin and black, Afro-textured hair, is shown milking a cow on the final spread, where the opening rhyming lines are repeated. The text is lyrical and atmospheric though not as exceptional as some of Brown’s better-known works. Pinkney’s luminous watercolor-and-pastel illustrations create a cozy environment for the animals, using a double-page–spread format, a large trim size, and a thoughtful design. Tiny details are hidden in the pages, such as a grasshopper perched on a dried cornstalk and a line of ants marching toward the barn, and sound effects from some of the animals are also integrated into the illustrations. An artist’s note gives interesting, specific details about Pinkney’s artistic process.
The gentle, descriptive text and appealing illustrations succeed in establishing an atmosphere of a warm, crowded, noisy barn where everyone is safe and sheltered. (Picture book. 3-7)