cover image DOWN ON THE FARM


Merrily Kutner, , illus. by Will Hillenbrand. . Holiday, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1721-6

Employing rhyming verse and kicky ink-and-oil paintings, Kutner (Z Is for Zombie ) and Hillenbrand (Kiss the Cow ) serve as guides on a boisterous barnyard tour that shines the spotlight on animal sounds and behaviors. From sunup when "Kid wakes up!" to sundown when it's "Shh! Quiet Town," a young goat romps around the farm to visit his friends—and stir up some fun. Hillenbrand depicts the kid in free-rein-fun mode, providing a visual story that playfully extends Kutner's somewhat basic concepts. While "Crows peck straw—/ Caw. Caw. Caw./ Down on the farm,/ Down on the farm ," the kid can be seen tugging an old boot off the scarecrow, an item he carries with him to each new scene and that eventually becomes stuck on his head. Throughout, Hillenbrand simplifies his typical style to match Kutner's tone, showing less detail than usual. He uses thick black outlines for his animal characters and other basic background shapes, and he applies his characteristically rich textures only selectively, sometimes focusing readers' attention but sometimes creating uneven- or unpolished-looking spreads. Very young children will surely enjoy the kid's antics, as well as the energetic encouragement to quack, "nay" and gobble along with the animals here. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)