Author Lindsey Craig once again teams up with Arthur creator and best-selling author/illustrator Marc Brown in a rollicking read-aloud for children, Farmyard Beat. It’s nighttime on the farm and the animals can’t sleep as one by one, they catch a contagious beat. The repetitive bounce in refrains such as “sheep can’t sleep / sheep can’t sleep / sheep can’t sleep / ‘cause they got that beat” moves the story along in singsong fashion, beckoning listeners to join in the chorus. The placement of text compels children to guess which animals will catch the farmyard beat next before turning the page.
To compliment Craig’s rhythmic phrasing, Brown’s paper-cut illustrations show animals jumping and dancing, enjoying their nighttime frolic. Children will want to rush through the first reading to predict the story but will linger on the second and third, absorbing the bright colors and varied lines in each scene. Brown’s collage work expertly evokes a playful mood, highlighting the shape and texture of familiar farm animals. When the owl hoots “Whooo? Whooo? / Lantern swinging… / Whooo? Whooo?” readers will wonder if the lantern carrier will bring an end to all the fun.
Farmyard Beat delivers a fun-filled romp in the barnyard for both readers andlisteners complete with bright colors, primary shapes, infectious rhymes and a natural beat. Like a favorite song sung over and over, children will want to read this again and again (and the reader won’t mind one bit).