Berkes continues her “Over in the Meadow” habitat songs with this look at animals on a farm.
Over on the farm, a hen and her one chick peck, a nanny goat and her two kids nibble, and a cow and her three calves swish (at a bumblebee), and so the pattern continues through kittens, foals, mouse pups, owlets, turkey poults, ducklings, and piglets. The names of the animal babies are in a colored type to set them off, though the numbers are not given similar treatment; a prominent numeral appears on each spread. Berkes’ verses are as singable as ever, but the artwork just doesn’t match that of previous books in the series: Jill Dubin’s atmospheric cut-paper collages and Jeanette Canyon’s amazing polymer clay scenes. By comparison, Morrison’s pictures, which have the fuzzy-edged and indistinct look of digital illustrations, come up short, the spreads sometimes seeming cramped and some of the animals’ expressions off-putting. Backmatter separates fact from fiction, provides further information about each baby animal, describes the seasons on a farm, gives the music and hand motions for the song, and provides activities in the academic areas of math, science, language arts, art, “From Farm to Table,” and movement and music to round out the learning.
While the activities and song will be valuable learning tools, the artwork leaves something to be desired, especially in a series that has previously held such high standards. (Picture book. 4-8)