Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Barnyard Animals - Out Loud

Honk, Honk! Baa, Baa!
by Petr Horacek
Honk, Honk! Baa, Baa! is a fun book for babies who will want to hear it read over and over again. They will feel invited to participate in the sound each animal makes as the pages progress. With the turn of the final page you will see how the cutaway pages throughout are used to create a Holstein cow on the final two page spread. Each page has bright, colorful drawings of the farm animals (donkey, sheep, pig, dog, cat, goose, and cow). The board book edition I have for reviewing purposes says, "lift the flaps" at the top of front cover where the cover pictured above states "flip-flap fun". I am a bit confused by the lift the flaps statement because there are no flaps to lift in the version I have, unless they are referring to the cutaway pages (which ultimately create the Holstein).

final two page spread - notice how the previous pages
create the body of the cow

To continue on the cow theme....

I am Cow, Hear Me Moo!
by Jill Esbaum & Gus Gordon
Nadine, the cow, is not afraid of anything (or so she says). When Nadine tells her friends, Starla and Annette, she is not afraid of the deep dark woods, they are not convinced. Nadine gathers all of her braver and leads the group in the woods where they discover the wonders found there, including eggs, blackberries, pinecones, paw prints, nests, and even a cave. While Nadine explores, her friends decide to make their way home, even though it is dark. Although Nadine gets scared while trying to find her way home, the friends are reunited when Nadine takes a flying leap while trying to flee the "something [that] tickled her rump!" Readers who are very observant will themselves be "tickled" when they see what tickles and scares Nadine. Nadine ends up being considered a hero (even though she was scared, "nobody knew it"). Her friends start a business selling tickets for sunset tours of the woods lead by the "Brave Nadine".

Jill Esbaum's text provides a nice range of vocabulary words not usually found in children's books. Some of these words includ the following: curdled, gulped, prickled, jiff, hollered, glancing, bellowed, cranny, and many others. I'm sure young readers will question the meaning of these words, which is great! I would be willing to bet after hearing this story, children will begin using some of these words in their daily communication.

Gordon's illustrations are great throughout the book. I loved going through trying to figure out how each spread was created. The illustrations were created using watercolors, pencils, crayons, and collage. The materials used in the collage pieces include old ledger pages, photographs, wallpaper, textured paper, and newspaper.

Find a Cow Now!
by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Even though this title has "cow" in the title, it is actually more about a restless dog. Dog begins to drive Bird crazy because of his need to move, chase, and round up everything in the house. Bird tells Dog, "You're supposed to herd cows. Not chiars, not rugs. You need a cow." Thus begins Dog's adventure. When he makes his way into the country he meets farm animals he mistakes for a cow, including a chicken, a pig, and a donkey. Does Dog find what he is searching for in the country? Does he make his way back home? Like all of their previous collaborations, the Stevens sisters are a dynamic duo in the children's picture book departement and never fail to satisfy their readers.

From cows to pigs....

Big Pigs
by Leslie Helakoski
Instead of three little kittens who have lost their mittens, we have three little pigs who are trying to prove they are Big Pigs! Sweet Pea, Nibbles, and Clean Bean challenge each other to see who is a big pig by trying to squeeze into the garden, eat a row of vegetables, and sink into the mud first. Each of the pigs is able to accomplish one of the tasks first, making each a big pig, but how does Mama Pig feel when she confronts her piglets by asking, "Are you the pigs who sneaked into the garden, ate all the food, and dragged half the mudhole into the yard?" Listeners and readers of all ages will enjoy this great story. A great alternative (or addition) to the classic Three Little Pigs story. Large illustrations make this a wonderful read aloud for a large group.

Pigs on the Family Farm
by Chana Stiefel

Pigs on the Family Farm is a wonderful (non-fiction book for young children. The text provides a great deal of information in vocabulary easy enough for young readers to understand. The color photographs are large and have boxed text with additional information about the family's daily routine of taking care of their pigs. The "Words to Know" (glossary) is at the beginning of the book, which is perfect placement for introducing words that will be encountered while reading. These words are printed in bold when later used in the text. One two page spread shows five different breeds of pigs (Berkshire, Duroc, KuneKune, Tamworth, and Yorkshire). A minimal life cycle of a pig is also included at the end of the book. It is mentioned this family raises their pigs for meat and the different times of meat that come from pigs, however it does not go into further detail about how the meat is acquired ~ which I appreciate. This is one of four books currently in the series Animals on the Family Farm published by Enslow. The other titles in the series include the following titles: Chickens on teh Family Farm,  Goats on the Family Farm, and Sheep on the Family Farm.

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