This one I LIKE. Strong, infectious rhymes, blocky, colorful pictures with lots of strong lines and humor;, this is going to be a storytime favorite for a long time. I'm glad I ordered it for the library.
As the farmer feeds each animal, children learn what the horse, chickens, geese, pigs, and the dog love to eat. But, the cow has a special love and in a sweet and funny surprise ending, we find out she's not the only one! The building and repetition of the swinging rhymes crys out for music - someone get a tune for this so we can have a rousing chorus in storytime!
Hall's illustrations show a rather old-fashioned family farm, but there's nothing wrong with that. His animals have strong curves and swooping necks and the background is filled with comfortable, familiar farm images and pleasant vistas. His Santa-ish farmer exuberantly moves from chore to chore, always followed by the long and clever tongued brown cow. The type and design are very readable and easy to follow along for beginning readers. I did think the final joke on the last page was a little unnecessary, but that's a minor quibble.
This book probably won't ever win huge awards (and I'm not saying anything about the Cybils, etc. etc.) but it's the type of book that parents and children will delight in and remember long after their childhood is over. The kind of book that librarians 20 years from now will be getting regular stumpers for from young adults and parents eager to recapture a childhood memory or introduce their own children to a beloved book.
Verdict: A must-have for your library and storytime collection.
ISBN: 9781416942061; Published July 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books; Review copy provided by the publisher for Cybils