A series of poems chronicles the summer two unnamed children spend on their grandparents’ farm, with particular emphasis on their animal friends.
Two-toned art appears every few pages, depicting farm and characters: grandparents and children (all white), Rexter the rooster, Seed-Sack the mule, Tuftin the cat, and newcomer Ginger-Tea, a dog to replace one that has died. While the text references no specific time period, an afterword informs readers “all this happened some time ago.” The joys of the farm are definitely those of yesteryear, and the illustrations complement them with a retro feel, providing warmth with oranges, golds, and browns. Chores exist, though they’re somewhat romanticized: Would a mule be able to carry two baskets of eggs in its teeth without breaking them? Nature provides a balance to the sweetness with a fox’s depredations to the henhouse. The poems don’t follow a singsong-y rhyme scheme but include some rhymes and near rhymes that are playfully memorable. “Gotta get the right doggone one,” says Grandpa in reference to a new dog, “or herding’ll be no doggone fun.” A quick read about a bygone way of life, the book is unlikely to have broad appeal, but thoughtful readers will respond to the wordplay as well as to the characterization of both humans and animals; Rexter’s and Seed-Sack’s personalities are particularly vivid throughout.
Charming. (Historical fiction/verse. 8-11)