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by Tim Egan

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 27th, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-22694-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Egan will crack up even the dourest of readers with this devastatingly deadpan episode. Weary of life with Farmer Fred, who is given to pronouncements like, “Nothing funny about corn,” a group of farm animals tries everything from circus tricks to dressing in his clothes in an effort to get him to lighten up. At last, discouraged, they sneak away. But Farmer Fred follows, coaxing them to come back with a barely perceptible “heh, heh,” and the poker-faced warning that there are lions in the woods. Like James Marshall, Egan gives his simply drawn figures tiny, but wonderfully expressive eyes. Children may roll theirs—but here’s a telling demonstration that a serious disposition isn’t the same as a humorless one. Heh, heh. (Picture book. 6-8)