cover image Going to Sleep on the Farm

Going to Sleep on the Farm

Wendy Cheyette Lewison. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1096-2

One tranquil evening, a pajama-clad boy sprawls on the floor beside his father, eking out a few more minutes of play with his plastic barnyard animals. When the son asks how a cow goes to sleep, the father replies, ``A cow lies down in the soft, sweet hay, / in a cozy barn, at the end of the day. / And that's how a cow goes to sleep--Moo-moo.'' Quack by quack and neigh-h-h by neigh-h-h, each animal is laid on its side in the box until no one is left but one drowsy boy--whose father tenderly carries him to bed while continuing the story's gentle rhythm. Winjgaard's arrestingly realistic watercolors alternate winningly between the simple father-son relationship--against stark white backgrounds--and the rich, detailed habitat of farm animals. His superlative, painterly style combines portraits and landscapes with equal finesse, as he presents striking, diverse perspectives of an idyllic farm scene. (The artist also exhibits a keen observation of children's movements as play gives way to sleep.) And while Lewison's language may not be quite as noteworthy as the artwork, her guileless verse seems perfectly suited to a father trying to amuse his offspring. This singular book combines powerful images with the fun of a bedtime game that can be adapted to many sleepy imaginations. Ages 3-7. (May)