Escape from Baxters’ Barn

Rebecca Bond. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-544-33217-1
A heartwarming atmosphere enriches Bond’s chapter book, in which a down-on-his-luck farmer plans to burn down his barn to collect insurance money. Burdock, a scrappy, one-eyed cat, learns of the plot after sneaking into the farmhouse to get warm. Inspired by a caring owl who swoops in with a plan, the barn residents band together to carry out a thrilling escape. Bond (The House That George Built) excels in creating characters whose personalities flirt with but defy typecasting. An anything-but-lazy pig works tirelessly to dig a hole under the barn wall to facilitate the animals’ flight; a take-charge nanny goat’s patience and kindness exceeds her stubbornness; and free-spirited Burdock, though tempted to make a break for it, puts the others’ wellbeing ahead of his own safety. Among numerous snippets of humor are inadvertent bunglings of clichés (“My wish is your command!”). In the tradition of Garth Williams’s pen-and-ink barnyard images, Bond’s energetically sketched b&w illustrations illuminate the animals’ distinct dispositions as well as their communal courage and devotion. Ages 6–9. Agent: Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, Studio Goodwin Sturges. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 07/07/2015
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-328-74093-9
Open Ebook - 250 pages - 978-0-544-55370-5
Prebound-Glued - 256 pages - 978-0-606-40447-1
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