cover image Pig in a Barrow: 9

Pig in a Barrow: 9

Bert Kitchen. Dial Books, $13.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0943-0

In this whimsical outing, simple rhymes gently reveal the everyday activities of common animals and birds. A baby bird chirps to her parents that she wants to be fed; a curious ferret pokes his head out of watering can and doesn't notice the rabbit hiding beside it. Basic concepts such as the importance of food and habitat and relationships--exhibited by a parent's concern for its young--are subtly interwoven within the verses. Maternal pride is evidenced, for example, when ``The hen in a bucket / Watches her chick, / Who's learning to balance-- / A difficult trick.'' Kitchen's expertly rendered paintings are rich in the subdued colors of nature, and the varying textures of common elements such as wood, grass and water are carefully maintained. The large format and inherent diversity of the animals depicted offer many interesting details that can be digested quietly or used as a springboard for discussions. Ages 4-8. (May)