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Funny Farm Hardcover – April 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
When Edward, a city-slicker dog, arrives at his canine relatives' farm for a visit, Teague provides the perfect setup for this goofily sweet fish-out-of-water tale. As fans familiar with the antics of Teague's other pooch—Ike from the Dear Mrs. LaRue books—might expect, the narrative nature of the crisp oil illustrations reveals a much more entertaining version of the story than does the straightforward text. The line, In the woods, Edward helps make maple syrup, accompanies a spread showing Edward stumbling through a clearing with his paw stuck in a bucket. And when Edward and Judy go outside to tend the sheep, Edward is shown petrified, having somehow hooked the leg of one unhappy looking ram. Young readers will find plenty to revisit in the humorous bucolic scenes of barnyard creatures at work and play. And though Edward never quite gets the hang of farm chores, kids will take heart that his bemused hosts are ever-tolerant of his botched efforts. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
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This book isn’t all that ha-ha funny, but it’s every other kind of funny: weird, satirical, and surreal. Using simple declarative sentences (“Judy helps Edward feed the pigs”), Teague tells of Edward, a dog visiting his aunt and uncle in the country. We know Edward is from the city because he wears a little suit and bowtie, and we know from that suit and bowtie that he’s going to get real messy real fast. Edward falls into the pigpen, gets chased by chickens, and battles sheep, all of which play amusing counterpart to Teague’s text, which describes what Edward is supposed to be doing. The paintings are absurd still lifes centered around Edward’s prim, glassy-eyed, almost Stan Laurel–like mug; the fact that cows are sometimes playing tetherball in the background just seems par for the course. There is a confidence to Teague’s artwork that will win over almost any reader—dogs do dance with pigs while their dog-families play fiddle and cello. We’ve just never noticed it before. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Daniel Kraus
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