The Quiet Little Farm

Janet Kerr, Illustrator, Janet Kerr, Author Henry Holt & Company $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5869-7
Using painstakingly hand-tinted photographs, newcomer Kerr introduces an animal cast of characters snuggled ""safe and warm"" in winter seclusion in the farmhouse and barn. When spring comes, the creatures venture into the great outdoors. Kerr uses her spare text as a kind of caption for each photograph; together the images effectively telegraph how the warmth and sunshine put a spring (literally) in the animals' steps. Though at times there is little contrast between interior vs. exterior photo shots (e.g., a photograph of a hen roosting during winter possesses the same look and texture as the image of four puppies peering into the spring air), the mood of the photographs' styling varies provocatively and appropriately. For example, some images, such as one of goats and geese at their troughs, have a documentary feel, while others, including a soft-focus spread of a mare and foal on their first post-winter foray into a sunlit field, exude an unabashed romanticism. Unfortunately, the book's smallish, square format and rather perfunctory design work against the photographs, cramping their power and artistry. Still, Kerr's expertise with the camera comes through loudly and clearly, and youngsters will come away with a strong sense of how a farmyard is transformed by the change of seasons. Ages 2-4. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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