Friday, August 27, 2021

Picture Book Review: Barn at Night by Michelle Houts, illustrated by Jen Betton (2021)

Quick Booktalk

Simple text and warm illustrations show young readers all that happens in a barn at night.

About the Illustrations 

The pictures make beautiful use of light and shadow to contrast the cold winter temperatures outdoors with the cozy warmth of the animals in the barn. The illustrations also show the child reader all the work that needs to be done on a farm, both on ordinary days and the extraordinary ones where new baby animals are welcomed to the barn. There is a sense of quiet calm on every page that helps capture the solitary feeling of being awake when much of the rest of the world sleeps.

Story Time Possibilities

The poetic text of this book begs to be read aloud, and it's a perfect length for the preschool and kindergarten audience. I like that it puts a different spin on the old farm theme by focusing on actual farm work rather than the usual topic of animal sounds or baby animal vocabulary. Other story time themes that would work with this book are nighttime, winter, fathers and daughters, and horses. 

Readers Advisory

This book has much in common with Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and is a good read-alike for kids who love that book. I also really appreciate that the book makes it possible for me to teach my kids, who have only ever lived in an urban area, what life is actually like on a farm.  The story really shows the hard work of farming as a positive and joyful thing. The story's gentle and quiet tone also makes it a great naptime or bedtime read-aloud. 


I received a finished copy of Barn at Night from Feeding Minds Press in exchange for a positive review.

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