4 out of 4 stars
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This book can be summed up with this quote:
"You do not do good because of what you will get in return. You do good because it is the right thing to do."
How do you treat strangers who ask you for help? The story contained in this book paints a picture of sacrifice, kindness, empathy, compassion, and conflict resolution in a way that kids will be able to quickly comprehend and practice.
In this book, Julie Penshorn tells the story of Blue, a dog that is separated from his family and left to wander around in search of food, water, and shelter. Blue's search leads him to Farmer Jim's barn where he meets other animals like Portland the pig; King the horse; Clover the goat; and Mrs. McCloud the owl. Blue's arrival creates friction among the animals as they can't seem to agree on whether to help him or send him on his way. How do they resolve this conflict? Do they help him or kick him out? What is Farmer Jim's role in all of this?
The Barnyard Buddies Meet A Newcomer was a pleasure to read. One of the things I really liked right off the bat was the way the text was formatted. Each animal's comment was presented in a speech cloud and each animal's cloud had a unique color association. It made the story very easy to follow. I was never confused about which animal was talking at any point in the story. The book's format reminded me of the superhero comic books I read as a child and I was grateful for the brief moments of nostalgia I experienced while I read.
I also loved the illustrations in the book. Apart from the author's clear and concise writing, the work done by the illustrator, Jeanine-Jonee, was excellent. Apart from the cover design, which was a bit underwhelming for me, the rest of the illustrations in the book oozed of high quality. The expressions on the faces of the animals corresponded with whatever they were saying and that made the story a lot more believable.
I read the book over a couple of times, and I still couldn't find any errors to report. I really appreciated that the book was painstakingly and professionally edited. At the end of the story, I found the "Parent and Educator Guide" section. This portion of the book was designed to help parents and educators engage in critical discussions with their kids and students about the themes in the book and how they translate to our everyday circumstances.
The Barnyard Buddies Meet A Newcomer is a thoroughly satisfying story as I didn't find a single thing I hated about it. The writing, illustrations, and message were the best I've read in a long time. Consequently, I give this book an unreserved 4 out of 4 stars. The mild issue I had with the book's cover design was not enough for me to give it a lesser rating.
I would recommend it to every parent and teacher. It is perfect as an educational tool or even as a bedtime story. It fits in so nicely with either scenario, thanks to its positive message. If you are not a fan of children's books, especially ones with talking four-legged creatures, I recommend that you pass on this book.
The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer
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