STARRED REVIEW
July 2015

Down on the farm, the animals hatch a plan

By Rebecca Bond
Review by
When Burdock—a one-eyed cat named for the prickly burr seeds that inspired Velcro—discovers that Dewey Baxter is planning to burn down his barn, it becomes his mission to save the barn’s inhabitants. It isn’t long before the whole farm—workhorses Tug and Pull, Fluff the sheep, Figgy the pig, Mrs. Brown the cow, Nanny the goat and her kid, Tick—work with Burdock to concoct an escape plan.
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When Burdock—a one-eyed cat named for the prickly burr seeds that inspired Velcro—discovers that Dewey Baxter is planning to burn down his barn, it becomes his mission to save the barn’s inhabitants. It isn’t long before the whole farm—workhorses Tug and Pull, Fluff the sheep, Figgy the pig, Mrs. Brown the cow, Nanny the goat and her kid, Tick—work with Burdock to concoct an escape plan.

The unsuspecting farmer takes a back seat in this story, relayed in short chapters. The gentle dialogue can be silly and a bit old fashioned, and the characters are stereotypical in both personality and name. Nevertheless, it’s a sweet tale reminiscent of the animal compassion and teamwork in Charlotte’s Web, and Rebecca Bond’s black-and-white sketches carry that theme effortlessly. 

If ever there were an E.B. White heir apparent, it would be Bond. This is a tame but endearing beginning chapter book sure to please all, especially animal lovers.

 

This article was originally published in the July 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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