From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3—This homage to the shelter for neglected and abused farm animals where Gottfried served as a volunteer is a book of poems and accompanying paintings that will raise awareness both of the Sanctuary and the sad reasons for which such a place exists. But it has more to recommend it. The poems are "narrated" by some of the shelter's inhabitants: Gabriella, a bantam chicken; Maya, a cow; Diego, a duck; and others. The quality of the poetry is uneven; the tendency to waver between rhymed meter and free verse is unsettling. Still, there's a disarming innocence throughout, and the best of the selections are enchanting. Zakanitch's illustrations are superb. Each one is a collectible work of art, exhibiting a masterful technique, tenderness, subtlety, and humor. Readers will halt nervously when they meet the glowering eye of the rooster and will want to reach out and touch the thick wooly head of the sheep. Childlike sketches are sometimes mixed in with the watercolor and ink paintings, lending them an easy informality. Splendid to look at, pleasant to read, Our Farm
is also a fine springboard for talking about the real lives of farm animals in America.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
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The creatures on an animal sanctuary provide the voices in this collection of playful poetry. Illustrated with large, handsome portraits of individual animals in watercolor, pencil, and ink, the poems on each double-page spread feature an animal that speaks about the bliss of living naturally in grass and dirt and roaming freely. Included are a piglet (I’m free! / And I’m running, / and oh / I can feel the sun on my snout), a bantam chicken, a goat, and a rabbit: See me in the grass? / Maybe I will hop to food / . . . Or go sniff pansies. A long final note fills in details of the farm sanctuary movement, which rescues neglected animals from factory farms, stockyards, and other cruel homes. There are few books for young kids on this subject. From the cover image of one vulnerable lamb to the farm overviews on the endpapers, the physical images about the joy of home will move young animal lovers. Grades K-3. --Hazel Rochman