cover image Early One Morning

Early One Morning

Mem Fox, illus. by Christine Davenier. Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-0139-5

It’s morning on the farm, and a copper-haired, pale-skinned boy in bright blue overalls leaves his house “in search of a couple of things for his breakfast.” A white hen with a bright red comb and wattle is shocked when the boy takes his quest beyond the farmhouse gate, and no wonder: close observers of the book’s opening spread will see that the henhouse is within its boundary. With the hen at his heels, it becomes clear that while the boy will retrieve two eggs eventually, he’s going to first make a roundabout, Family Circus–style loop to check out his farm faves: the green pickup, the red tractor, the haystack, and friendly farm animals. Fox (Roly Poly) notes each stop (“He came to a haystack”) and confirms that it doesn’t have what he seeks (“but haystacks don’t lay them”). Davenier (Emily Writes) chronicles this confident perambulation with luscious watercolor hues and paint strokes: readers can sense the fragrant hay and the velvetiness of the big brown cow. Getting there isn’t just half the fun in this pleasing farm ramble—it’s all of it. Ages 4–8. [em](Feb.) [/em]