Thursday, August 11, 2011

Farmyard Beat

by Lindsey Craig

"Ever since “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” with its irritating propensity to ring in parents’ ears long after its 4-year-old targets have ceased oinking, the combination of children’s books and farmyard animals somehow inevitably invites song. Two catchy new picture books for very young readers sustain that tradition. “Farmyard Beat,” written by Lindsey Craig and illustrated in cut-out collage by Marc Brown (the pair behind “Dancing Feet!”), could be one of those books that’ve been kicking around preschool classrooms for ages. The corrugated cardboard backdrops look like something glued together by a pair of especially crafty moms at the local co-op, and the text (lyrics, really) seems like a familiar song one has already heard in off-key unison. None of that takes away from the book's considerable appeal. From the “Peep-peep-peep!” of a yellow chick peering out of its egg on the first page, through the inevitable chiming-in of an entire farm’s worth of animals, to the book’s conclusion with animals piled up in an exhausted, snoring heap, “Farmyard Beat” jauntily pulls readers along. Toddlers will need zero encouragement to participate. " -- from The New York Times Sunday Book Review

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