cover image I Love Animals

I Love Animals

Flora McDonnell. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-387-2

Who wouldn't get a kick out of the frolicsome cast of strutting turkeys, hopping hens, et al. in this debut picture book? Each creature-or grouping, in such cases as ``the pig with all her little piglets''-receives an entire spread, captioned with a straightforward declaration from the girl on the book's cover: ``I love (goat, donkey, etc.).'' The acrylic and gouache illustrations' large scale and stark white backgrounds add to the overall exuberance. And though McDonnell's somewhat primitive, folk-art technique occasionally skews the creatures' faces, their wry expressions are full of punch (for example, the goat ``racing across the field'' has an unmistakable glint in its eye, the donkey ``braying hee-haw!'' holds its head at a proud angle). This simple and effective introduction to farm denizens also provides an important first lesson about kindness and affection for all animals. Ages 2-up. (Aug.)