Top positive review
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Nice and Sweet and Sleepy
on June 9, 2000
There must be 1,000 kiddie farm books lurking out there, and I bet most of them are bad. *Big Red Barn*, however, is neither "kiddie" nor bad. The book seems to speak to the child; the tone is quiet, and, for once, we get to see farm animals and the farm on a day and night when "the children are away." This is an animal's view of the big red barn and the meadow around it. A deserted child's toy bucket serves the mouse as a place to look around. The corn grows not for the farmer (unmentioned in the tale), but to protect the newborn field mice. The scarecrow is exceptionally cheerful. The animals and their offspring squeal and low and bray and play and eat in the meadow. When darkness come, they wend their way back to the barn and curl up cozily, as the bats, their time come round, fly out of the hayloft.
The book works soothing wonders in effacing the farmer and his children, and lets us see a world we normally only imagine. I wager many a parent has fallen alseep with a child while reading this charming book -- everything is so safe, and so calming, as the vibrant colors of the day illustrations give way to those of dusk and night.
Bedtime books don't get much better than this.