Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Small Readers: In! Over! and On! (The Farm) by Ethan Long

Ethan Long's concept stories are one of the new comic easy reader series and one that, I think, is successful because it stands on its own and doesn't try to imitate other popular series. Like, as it may be, Elephant and Piggie.

Three short chapters illustrate three prepositions in hilarious art with quirky characters. The first story, "Let me in" features Hen who has been booted from her own coop by the other animals during the rain. Why? Open the lift-the-flap door and you can see it's crowded! But Hen has a solution for that...and the other animals are out in the rain themselves. Hen is back in "Jump over" as the other animals try to get her over or under the fence. Neither one works, but fortunately Cow has a solution. Pig is the protagonist of the last story, "I am on" and he certainly is - on the tractor that is! One by one the cow and goat join him until....they are no longer on the tractor. Sploosh!

Ethan Long's simple lines and colors develop the minimalist text to its full funny potential. What are at first bland sentences illustrating the prepositions become hilarious statements when paired with the animals' expressions, ranging from deadpan to mischievous, and their wacky antics.

Verdict: I'm always looking for the very beginning easy readers, with just a few words. Although this is in no way similar to the sweet and silly antics of Elephant and Piggie, Ethan Long has the same ability as Willems to capture a whole story with just simple illustrations and a few words. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780399169076; Published 2015 by Putnam/Viking; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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