From the crowing rooster on the cover to the sleeping hound dog to the constantly chewing billy goat, the illustrations (by Holly Meade) in this beautiful book beckon a reader's complete attention. Washes of springtime watercolors complement the bold black woodblock outlines; each two-page spread features a different animal you'd see on a small farm, including a few interlopers, like turtles and rabbits, from the pond and field.
Short poems, by David Elliott, in large print accompany the pictures. Most of them work well. "The Duck Quacks! The Goose Honks! The Hen Squawks!" describes exactly what is going on, and the hound-dog verses are slyly funny. But when reading about the pig, "Her tail? As coy as a ringlet," I scratch my head. Still, Meade's art brings the farm to life, and preschoolers, kindergartners, and beginning readers (with a little help) will have a good time with the book.
On the Farm
written by David Elliot and illustrated by Holly Meade
Candlewick Press, 2008