cover image A Home in the Barn

A Home in the Barn

Margaret Wise Brown, illus. by Jerry Pinkney. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-623787-9

“Outside in the cold/ Hear the wind rattle/ Stay in the barn/ Keep warm with the cattle.” Atmospheric lines by the late, legendary author begin this story of the gathering in of winter on a farm, illustrated with finely developed paintings by Caldecott Medalist Pinkney. Mice, which have spent the summer in the fields, scurry into the hayloft, and the horses follow, their breath rising “like smoke” in the cold air. In the warm barn, a calf is born, and the farmer (who has brown skin and dark hair) and his dog welcome it: “ ‘Winter Morn will be her name,’ said Jonathan, the farmer, as he rubbed down her silky little curly coat.” Brown describes the cozy animal activity with reassuring, repeating lines that wander unevenly between poetry and prose. Pinkney paints the animals with affection, warmth, and remarkable vitality evident in every carefully observed detail: the way the hair lies on a cow’s snout, the spread of a cardinal’s feathers just before landing. Like the barn itself, Pinkney’s paintings offer a warm refuge for readers to return to. Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]