cover image On Sally Perry's Farm

On Sally Perry's Farm

Leah Komaiko. Simon & Schuster, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-689-80083-2

A nifty concept and nimble visual execution makes this effervescent book worth a good look--rather, two looks, as a second reading will probably be required for the full meaning to sink in. A girl joins a group of children happily working at their neighbor Sally Perry's farm, but doubts her own abilities. Through Sally's encouragement, she learns to take risks, think creatively and persist. The farmyard tasks aren't exactly ordinary: transforming junk into a magnificent grape arbor, and chicken, pig, and horse statuary. The farm, however, isn't ordinary either--as the final illustration shows, Sally's agrarian paradise is really an urban garden, tucked within a block of apartment houses. Smith's slightly skewed, garden-bright gouaches sing with energy and optimism. But Komaiko's (Annie Bananie) odd wording (""Ho/ Hon--/ Look who's back!/ ...Who wants to work before that sun leaves?) and strained rhyme scheme may require a little extra digging. Ages 3-8. (June)