cover image Little Farm by the Sea

Little Farm by the Sea

Kay Chorao. Henry Holt & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-5053-0

Chorao (Baby's Lap Book) presents an onlooker's view of Long Island, N.Y.'s Smallholdings Farm and those who make it run. Opening in the relatively quiet winter months, the narrative follows Farmer Brown and his family through four seasons, as they care for animals, plant and harvest crops and market their bounty in both their ""selling room"" and roadside stand. While intently focused on these activities, both text and art keep the Browns oddly at bay (for example, the author never names the children; instead she refers to them quite formally as ""one of the Brown daughters"" or ""the Brown children""). A rare moment of levity occurs when four piglets escape from their pen, overturning cartons of produce and sending eggs flying. More compelling than her words, Chorao's sprawling, good-humored illustrations gracefully depict the colors and signs of the changing seasons. Rendered in gouache and pen-and-ink, the art also contains some images certain to appeal to children, including endearing glimpses of animal mothers and their babies snoozing in unexpected spots. Any youngster interested in a realistic picture of a working farm will find much of interest in these pages. Ages 4-9. (May)