cover image My Farm Friends

My Farm Friends

Wendell Minor, Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24477-3

Minor (Look to the Stars) introduces readers to common farm animals, portraying them at close range in watercolor gouache paintings that outshine the narrative. Some entries have little substance ("Roosters crow all day long/ They say cock-a-doodle-doo/ When it's early in the morning/ Will you cock-a-doodle too?") while others mention more interesting tidbits (pigs roll in the mud to stay cool, since they don't sweat, and barn cats like to nap on other animals' backs). Well- tailored to a preschool audience, Minor's large-scale art trades some of the meticulous detail and sophistication of his previous work for lifelike (if idealized) animals that exude personality and a gentle old-fashioned feel. There are splashes of visual humor: illustrating the fact that cows "drink a bathtub full of water" daily is a picture of a cow in a field drinking from a tub while a boy takes a bath. However, the verse's lack of consistent meter ("Lots of baby animals/ live on the farm too/ And guess what—/ They would all love to have/ A visit from you!") may contribute to a bumpy read-aloud. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)