cover image The Barn

The Barn

Leah H. Rogers, illus. by Barry Root. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0906-8

Incantatory lines of free verse by debut author Rogers consider a barn and the creatures living in and around it—a cat, cows and their calves, hens, horses, swallows, and even a lonely coyote. The huge red building narrates from atop a hill: “I am a barn,” it announces in a refrain. It remembers its construction, a barn raising involving hazy-faced, largely pink-skinned neighbors, and explains the source of its strength: “Triangles keep me sturdy/ Large wooden beams bear my weight.” In the morning, the animals begin their day (“My chickens amble out of my coop”). At midday, the cows “chomp on tall, rich grass/ shooing flies away.” In the evening, the animals come slowly in and bed down, each in its own place: “Heavy, restful breathing, warm and comforting.” Rich, saturated watercolor and gouache spreads by Root (The Bell in the Bridge) give the pages an almost hypnotic calm, capturing the long shadows of dawn and dusk as well as the contrast between their deep indigo and the gold of the barn’s wooden beams. Atmospheric spreads and quiet verses combine to form a sedate bedtime lullaby that’s attentive to nature’s daily cycles. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)