On the Farm


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 ...

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Meade's big, bold woodcut prints are the attention-grabbers, but Elliott's little verses pack a deceptive punch.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

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.
School Library Journal

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, OH

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Energetic woodcuts accompany playfully simple poems as they give young readers an engaging tour of the barnyard. From the usual suspects-rooster, cow, sheep-to some of the less celebrated denizens of the farm-snake, bees, turtle-each poem varies to suit its subject. The barn cat's verse is succinct: "Mice / had better / think twice." The snake's winds its way down the page in sinuous shape. At their best, Elliott's images are unexpected and all the more lovely: The turtle "Lifts her fossil head / and blinks / one, two, three / times in the awful light." Others are not so successful, but Meade's illustrations give them credence: The rooster "Crows and struts. / He's got feathers! / He's got guts!" This rhythmic but rather opaque assertion is accompanied by an oversized rooster who dominates the foreground; eyes shut in concentration, he levitates himself with the force of his crow-the very embodiment of "guts." Farmyard books are a dime a dozen, but this one is a worthwhile addition, for those poems that reach beyond the ordinary and for the good-natured illustrations that complement them. (Picture book/poetry. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763655914
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 683,956
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD300L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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.

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