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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A Home in the Barn, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Harper, 2018. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"The breath of the horses rose like smoke in the cold air. And the winter wind told them it was time to move into the big warm barn. In the big warm barn all the animals were waking up, slowly and hungrily, except for the little mice in the hayloft, who had been up all night and were just going to bed. High up in the rafters of the barn, the swallows began to chirp in their deep, warm nests of mud."

Never before published, this new book by the prolific Margaret Wise Brown is perfect fare for the illustrative genius of Jerry Pinkney. It begins and ends with a repetitive refrain:

"Here is the barn
Hear the wind rattle
Open the door
And see all the cattle."

What a lovely invitation! I am going to take this with me when I go to visit my granddaughters next week. They are currently enthralled with a new farm set and spend endless hours caring for the animals and their housing. I know they enjoy this book as much as I do.

Winter is just around the corner, and it's time for all animals to seek the warmth and safety of the big red barn. Each turn of the page provides new text that evokes the sights, sounds and the urgency for finding shelter. Jerry Pinkney focuses attention fully on the animals and their comfort as they settle into nests in the rafters, soft bundles of straw, cozily-lined pens, and the warmth of a birthing bed for a newly-arrived calf. The farmer and his son are there when needed. As the wind howls and the plethora of animals hunkers down, the warmth spreads and peace falls over their shelter.

The radiant warmth of the pencil, watercolor, gouache and pastel images creates a comfortable, peaceful setting. Young readers will appreciate extra time while reading to note the many captivating details included to hold their attention.

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