A bird zips into the barnyard, a feathered Paul Revere, with a late-breaking flash: A ""NEW ONE"" is coming. But among all the barnyard inhabitants, just who is expecting? A small boy solves the problem--a human baby has arrived, whom he proudly shows off through a window. Berends (The Case of the Elevator Duck, 1989, not reviewed, etc.) provides a spare text that is playful and rhyming: ""'My word!' said the bird. 'And how!' said the cow. 'Of course,' said the horse."" Sneed's watercolors are terrific. In these, he captures distinctive animal gestures--the way a cow might turn its head or a bird apply the breaks. The perspective is often from ground level, endowing the farm creatures with an enormous, amiable presence. Each animal possesses a distinct personality, sometimes aided by an idiosyncratic characteristic: the put-upon air of the bird, the scrawny neck of the hare, the long sculptured snout of the mare. When the boy communes directly and naturally with the animals, it's simply another low-keyed, artful touch, not at all out of the ordinary. Pleasingly subtle, cheerful, and big-hearted.