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Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary

Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary
Author: Maya Gottfried
ISBN 13: 9780375861185
ISBN 10: 375861181
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2010-02-09
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 40
List Price: $17.99

Maya the cow, J.D. the piglet, Hilda the sheep, and a dozen more animals all speak directly to the reader, showing off their unique personalities in this wonderful collection of poems. Master watercolorist Robert Rahway Zakanitch provides a portrait that perfectly captures the essence of each creature. Together the poems and paintings add up to a picture of life on the friendliest farm around.

Maya Gottfried based her poems on real animals from Farm Sanctuary, a safe haven for injured or abused farm animals with locations in New York and California.

Publishers Weekly

The inhabitants of a real-life refuge for abused farm animals inspired this collection of poems and watercolor portraits. Zakanitch (who collaborated with Gottfried on Good Dog and Last Night I Dreamed a Circus) captures his subjects in a variety of moods and modes. There are almost formal poses (the florid, impressionistic poultry are noteworthy), more impressionistic works (turkeys distilled to red wattles and reverse-silhouetted bodies against a green field); and casual, occasionally naïf-styled sketches, complete with sound effects like “oink” and “cluck.” It’s aesthetically intriguing and fun—readers are never quite sure what awaits on the next page. Gottfried fares less well: her conceit is that the free verse is written by the animals themselves, as in this poem by a turkey named Whisper: “See our magnificent dance in the grass./ We are so graceful, like a ballet class.” But aside from some familiar animal personality tropes (a sheep is imperious, chicks are giddy, rabbits are skittish), there’s little in the verse that conveys a unique voice or experience. Instead, the poems feel like they’re all cut from the same dreamy, earnest cloth. Ages 5–8. (Feb.)