cover image The Hundred-Year Barn

The Hundred-Year Barn

Patricia MacLachlan, illus. by Kenard Pak. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-268773-9

In meditative prose, Newbery-winner MacLachlan commemorates the life of a great barn. Pak (Cat Wishes) pictures the initially youthful narrator in a bright red cap and suspenders (“I was only five years old”) watching as the barn is raised by neighbors and family members—grainy, ghostly figures against sepia tones. The narrator’s father loses his wedding ring somewhere in the confusion, and the group feasts to celebrate their finished work, then poses for a group photograph. The narrator’s father announces a toast: “The barn will be called the hundred-year barn.” Lyrical writing conveys the slow passage of time (“Seasons went by. The cows were milked”). Pak lingers over the barn’s livestock and its cathedral-like interior. The boy eventually marries (his red cap is larger now), the barn becomes his, and one day, he finds the lost wedding ring in an unexpected place. MacLachlan and Pak invite readers into the rhythms of the small family farm and important moments, small and great, over a century of its life. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (Sept.) [/em]