Horn Book Guide Reviews

A family of four works together to accomplish the many tasks involved in putting their small farm to bed for winter. Each spread relates what needs to be done in language both practical and lyrical, imparting a remarkable amount of information. Detailed paintings capture the stark beauty of the December landscape and the snug, communal feeling of the family kitchen and farmstand. Copyright 2017 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Here's a unique look at the (considerable) work involved in putting a small farm to bed for the winter—covering strawberry plants with straw, cutting back and burning raspberry canes, chopping and stacking wood, building a windbreak for the beehives, moving the farm machinery into the equipment shed. Illustrations reveal a family of four—mom and dad, two kids (and a dog), wearing increasingly warmer clothes as the weather becomes colder—working together to accomplish their many tasks. Each double-page spread gives specifics for what needs to be done, in language both practical ("We board up chinks in the chicken coop") and lyrical ("We collect the day's eggs, fragile gifts from our friends"); each spread ends in a line in larger type, bidding that part of the farm good night ("Good night, chickens, snug in your coop"). Throughout, the author imparts a remarkable amount of information (who knew that, in winter, beehive entrances are made smaller in order to keep field mice out?). Readers may see echoes of Barbara Cooney's Ox-Cart Man (rev. 2/80) in the illustrations, but Stadtlander has made this farm her own, in detailed paintings that alternately capture the stark beauty of the December landscape and the snug, communal feeling of the family kitchen and farmstand. Front and back endpapers show a stand of trees, first in their autumn reds and golds and then bare and covered in snow; but each is bookended with a page of field flowers in glorious summer colors, reminding readers that winter doesn't last forever. martha v. parravano Copyright 2016 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 2—A family farm produces delicious homegrown treats during the spring, summer, and fall. But what happens to the farm during winter? Readers will discover how one family puts the farm to bed: from gathering and chopping wood and harvesting the last of the tomatoes and okra to fluffing up the chicken coop and selling the last of the bounty at the farm stand. By the time December comes, the family members are hard at work hanging lights on the house, busily using the last of the harvest to make garden vegetable soup and fresh fruit pie. At long last, the farm is tucked in by quilts of snow as the quiet wind sweeps across the plains and the group settles in for a long, cozy winter. Idyllically pastoral illustrations complement the lyrical text, adding to the book's calming, lullabylike charm. Each season and its corresponding produce are highlighted in detail, demonstrating how each crop serves a specific purpose: beeswax for the candles that light the long winter nights, vegetables for winter stew, chickens for their eggs, and plump berries for delicious pie. Plenty of animals, foods, and activities are featured, affording lots of opportunities to strengthen narrative skills and dialogic reading during storytime. VERDICT Adults and children alike will appreciate this rustic, comforting tale that will feel at home in most picture book collections.—Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library. Copyright 2016 School Library Journal.