The Washington Post
On the Farmby David Elliott, Holly Meade
From the bull to the barn cat to the wild bunny, the farmyard bustles with life. The rooster crows, the rams clash, the bees buzz, and over there in the garden, a snake — silent and alone —/b>
A New York Ttimes best-selling author and a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator evoke life on a farm in a simple, lyrical text and boldly expressive images.
From the bull to the barn cat to the wild bunny, the farmyard bustles with life. The rooster crows, the rams clash, the bees buzz, and over there in the garden, a snake — silent and alone — winds and watches. David Elliott’s graceful, simple verse and Holly Meade’s exquisite woodcut and watercolor illustrations capture a world that is at once timeless yet disappearing from view — the world of the family farm.
The Washington Post
Like the vibrant rooster on this oversize book's jacket, Meade's (Hush! A Thai Lullaby ) colored woodcut prints are so bold they seem to crow at the reader. Leaves look bigger than life, and each chicken scratch in the barnyard dust leaves a strong, black line. Elliott's (And Here's to You!) short, simple poems often seem overwhelmed by the pictures, which feature animals that stare intently at the reader, as if their morning activities were being interrupted by someone with a camera. Taking a roster of the farm residents, the poems include the occasional striking image (the pig has a tail "as coy as a ringlet"), and more frequently comment on the animals' obvious characteristics (the cow "makes milk/ standing/ grazing./ Abra-/ cada-/ bra!/ She's/ utterly/ amazing!"). As brief as they are, often just a sentence or two, the poems talk to both adults and preschoolers. A comment about the turtle's "fossil head" will be of less interest to children than the idea that "in [the turtle's] house,/ it's always night." While some illustrations are stiff and anthropomorphic, overall this old-fashioned farm stands in for an idyllic existence, a time and place where the bees "tell their story,/ sweet and old." Ages 3-5. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr 2- Elliott looks at a rooster, a cow, a pony, a dog, sheep, a barn cat, a goat, a pig, a snake, bees, a bull, a turtle, a duck, a hen, and a rabbit in verses that are rich in vocabulary and, for the most part, written in rhyme. Large, black typeface mirrors the black lines in Meade's beautiful, color woodblock prints that superbly reflect the mood and action in the poetry. There is motion in the illustrations of the strutting, crowing rooster; the kicking hind legs of the pony; and the head-butting rams. In contrast, the artwork appropriately reflects the stillness of the grazing cows and watchful barn cat. The verses flow when read aloud and the double-page pictures can be easily seen by a group. As an extension activity, have children compare and contrast this book with Lee Bennett Hopkins's On the Farm (Little, Brown, 1991; o.p.). Elliott and Meade have crafted a picture book well worth adding to any size library collection.-Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OHCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
David Elliott is the author of several books for young readers, including the NEW YORK TIMES best-selling picture book AND HERE'S TO YOU! He lives in Warner, New Hampshire.
Holly Meade (1956-2013) wrote and illustrated IF I NEVER FOREVER ENDEAVOR. She earned a Caldecott Honor for her illustrations in HUSH! A THAI LULLABY by Minfong Ho. She also illustrated AND THEN COMES HALLOWEEN by Tom Brenner; ON THE FARM, IN THE WILD, and IN THE SEA by David Elliott; and many others.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Artist Holly Meade well remembers her childhood visits to her grandparents dairy farm. She writes that it was one of the highlights of her young life, 'I would wake early in my feather bed to the lowing of cows.....I wish that every child could experience having the natural world as excitingly near as it is on the farm.' Today not many children have that experience yet David Elliott and Ms. Meade have created a happy reminder of what life was like on a family farm. For the first time, Ms. Meade uses woodcuts for a picture book and they are stunning - full page illustrations enhanced with watercolors bring all of the animals to eye-popping life from the crowing strutting rooster to the sly barn cat to the silent rabbit. Mr. Elliott's easy, descriptive verse will be a pleasure for young eyes and ears. Of the snake he writes, 'Coils in the garden like a spring or the wild and winding melody he hears but cannot sing.' This one's a keeper! - Gail Cooke