Horn Book Magazine
That indestructible farmer of preschool lore is given a cheerful, updated treatment in bright, authoritatively detailed illustrations executed in gouache. The various characters are definitively but not overwhelmingly outlined in a manner calculated to appeal to the youngest readers, who will also be intrigued by the inclusion of equipment such as a tractor in addition to the usual menagerie. The fun is further enhanced by two noteworthy additions: the action follows the farm family's day from sunrise to dark, and a gathering of neighbors arrives to enjoy a spaghetti supper, "with a yakkity yak here / and a yakkity yak there." A great choice for dramatic play and for suggesting individual embellishments, the book also includes a colorful appended page with the initial stanza, music with guitar chords, and a visual key to succeeding verses. An invitation to song!
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Schwartz's (A Teeny Tiny Baby) exuberant interpretation, the old standby song becomes a family affair. The opening spread ("Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O!") shows the lay of the farmland, while in the next spread ("And on this farm/ he had a rooster,/ E-I-E-I-O!"), the cock crows, and a little girl rouses the farmer, his wife and baby from bed to start a full day's work. Old MacDonald and his daughter leave mother and baby behind as they tend to the cheeping chicks, the mooing cow and the baaing sheep. At lunchtime, quacking ducks are the backdrop for a family picnic near a pond. Schwartz's boldly hued gouache art in shades of barn-bright red, straw yellow and spring green offers plenty of particulars to keep little ones entertained: the girl chases a duck that has purloined her sandwich, a goat tugs mischievously at MacDonald's coat. A refreshing departure from the traditional lyrics calls for a neighborly gathering at dinnertime; a cozy crowd fills the dining room with "a yakkity yak here and a yakkity yak there," followed by a tune on the fiddle ("with a tra la la here and a tra la la there"). Sparked by familiar refrains, Schwartz's large-scale, cheerfully busy artwork supplies an uplifting story line. An ideal sing-along, whether one-on-one or among friends. Ages 3-6. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
It would be pretty hard to get out of preschool without learning about Old MacDonald and singing the song. Schwartz offers her version of this sing-along based on a family and its work on a farm. With a Moo Moo here, the farmer milks the cows, and with a Neigh Neigh, the little girl helps to groom the horse. In a concession to modern times there is even the Putt Putt of the tractor as it readies the fields for planting. The country scenes are full of animals and activities that truly extend the song. It is a little lesson about rural life with plenty in the scenes for toddlers and early elementary kids to discuss. The closing page provides the music and word plus pictures to help with singing subsequent verses. A nice addition to any library or home collection.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2Schwartz integrates the verses of this classic folk song into a coherent narrative complete with folk-art paintings. A rooster (with the help of a smiling little girl) wakes the farmer, his wife, and a baby. In the spreads that follow, the father and daughter do various chores, have a picnic lunch with the rest of the family, greet some visitors, and sit down to dinner. In addition to the traditional animals, Schwartz includes verses with a tractor that goes putt putt and neighbors going yakkity yak. The day ends with everyone dancing to the farmers fiddle music, giving a delightful sense of closure to this illustrated song. Each double-page spread is filled with details that children will enjoy investigating. While there is plenty of action, the colorful pictures never look busy. This version of the song compares favorably with those illustrated by Carol Jones (Houghton, 1989) and Lorinda Bryan Cauley (Putnam, 1989; o.p.). It will be a hit in storytime programs and is also appropriate for one-on-one sharing.Tim Wadham, Dallas Public Library, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.