The Barn

Candlewick. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536209068.
Gr 1-3–For years, a big red barn has sat regally atop a hill, protecting and observing the many creatures who call it home. From the moment the morning sun rises, cows, chickens, horses, dogs, and cats go about their business, taking shelter in the barn when the outside world becomes overwhelming. Gazing down upon them through sightless window/eyes, the barn is a solid fixture of this pastoral farm. This poetically written picture book depicts life on an American farm as one that is at once relaxing and vibrant. When text is used, it begins with the line “I am a barn,” and proceeds to present a poem that depicts a particular facet of farm observations. Descriptive and refreshing language enhances young readers’ vocabulary, especially when absorbed alongside the illustrations. Created in watercolor and gouache, the images are the primary feature of this book and incorporate the yellows, greens, and browns of rural life alongside the iconic barn red. Soft lines and careful lighting give the illustrations a sense of calm while guiding readers through a typical summer day.
VERDICT Introducing readers to poetry through the use of familiar shapes and farm animals, this is a rich addition to poetry units for elementary collections.

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