cover image Farmyard Beat

Farmyard Beat

Lindsey Craig, illus. by Marc Brown. Knopf, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86455-1

Craig and Brown are again in playful sync in this rhythmic companion to Dancing Feet! (2010). Reviving the cut-paper collage style he debuted in that book, Brown demonstrates that he's mastered the medium. Hand-painted papers cut into basic geometric shapes create animals and scenes composed of a boldly contrasting amalgam of textures and patterns; his palette incorporates soft pastels, earth tones, and primary colors set against deeply hued, striped backdrops. Using bouncy repetition, Craig explains that farm animals are too busy dancing to sleep: "Chicks can't sleep./ Chicks can't sleep./ Chicks can't sleep 'cause they got that beat!" Each species has its own beat and rhyme scheme, which usually relates to the sound the animal makes, and also leads into whatever animal is next seen busting a move ("Puuurrrr! Mee-ooow!/ Puuurrrr! Mee-ooow!/ All that racket wakes up... Cow!"). Although all the animals (as well as pigtailed Farmer Sue, who comes out to investigate all the noise) eventually "fall in a heap! Asleep!" the emphasis rests squarely on the joy of exuberant, slightly mischievous dancing. A calming bedtime book this is not. Ages 1%E2%80%934. (June)