E-I-E-I-O!: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help from a Hen

Judy Sierra, illus. by Matthew Myers. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6043-7
Like his neighbors, this Old MacDonald has a high-maintenance lawn: “MacDonald said, ‘I love my yard,/ but mowing grass is mighty hard.’ ” Enter a remarkable red hen, who is a horticultural expert (her “Resume of Horticultural Fowlishness” includes a stint at Versailles) with a plan for turning the backyard into a low-impact, high-yield organic garden. Old MacDonald’s neighbors need some convincing—in fact, they organize a NIMBY protest against the garden’s unsightly mud and smelly natural fertilizers (“A LAWN IN EVERY YARD” and CHANGE IS BAD” read protestors’ signs). But soon enough, nearly everyone either has the gardening bug or is saying, “ ‘Mac sure is smart,’/ as they bought fresh food from his garden cart.” Sierra (Wild About You!) has written an ingenious parable that’s ripped-from-the-headlines (or HGTV), and she has a two-peas-in-a-pod partnership with Myers, whose sculptural pictures and sly comedy add just the right amount of visual extravagance. Close readers will also be rewarded with manure jokes and a new meaning for Old MacDonald’s vowel-heavy refrain: “Enjoy It! Everything Is Organic!” Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/18/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
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