The Christmas Barn

John Churchman and Jennifer Churchman. Little Bee, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4998-1019-6
In this photographic picture book, the authors of the Sweet Pea & Friends series reveal how they transformed a 150-year-old tree felled by lightning into a barn as a Christmas gift for the animals on their Vermont farm. The heartwarming chronicle includes age-appropriate, often onomatopoeically rendered details, as the tree is chopped into logs and milled into boards (“Whir, whir, risp, rasp”) that are used for the structure’s frame, walls, roof, and doors. The indisputable stars of the book are the handsome animals themselves, each introduced by name and all clearly beloved family members—many will be familiar to readers of the Churchmans’ other books. Seen in crisp, closely focused pictures, they watch over the construction with palpable friendliness and curiosity (“What can it be? What can it be?”). Perhaps most endearing are the stately alpacas, one of whom, aptly named Joy, gives birth after the animals are ushered into their new home just before Christmas. An affectionate, informative, and thoroughly moving holiday tale. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/16/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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