This entry-level early reader/picture book pairs children with farm animals.
Using a simple, effective template—a full-page photograph on the recto page and a bordered spot photo above the text on the verso—Rotner delivers an amiable picture book that presents racially and ethnically diverse kids interacting (mostly in the cuddling department) with the adult and baby animals typically found on a farm. Chickens, chicks, cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, pigs, piglets, cows, and calves are all represented. While a couple of double-page spreads show the larger adult animals—pigs and cows—without a child, most of the rest portray a delighted child hugging a compliant critter. The text, simple and repetitive, changes only the name for the animal depicted in the photo on that spread: “I like the cat”; “I like the piglet.” In this way, reading comprehension for new readers is supported in an enjoyable, appealing way, since the photo of the animal reinforces the new word. It’s hard to go wrong combining cute kids with adorable animals, but special kudos must be given for the very natural way Rotner has included diversity—it’s especially gratifying to see diversity normalized and validated early, at the same time that reading comprehension is taught.
Simple, encouraging text, charming photographs, straightforward, unpretentious diversity, and adorable animals—what’s not to like? (Picture book/early reader. 2-6)