Lindsey Craig, who entered the world of children's books with Dancing Feet! (Knopf Books for Young Readers, May 11, 2010 has paired with illustrator, Marc Brown again to give us Farmyard Beat, (Knopf Books for Young Readers, June 14, 2011). In a snap, happy book she reveals that children are not the only ones that find going to sleep a little bit hard sometimes.
Chicks can't sleep. Chicks can't sleep.
Chicks can't sleep
'cause they got that beat!
Chicks, sheep, the cat, cows, and Hank the dog can't seem to win the battle of the beat. With peeping, tatting, purring mee-oows, swish clanking and woof how-woooooing they are creating motion magic in the dead of the night.
All that noise has disturbed Farmer Sue's sleep, lantern swinging she seeks the beat. But the beat is hidden, so it's back to bed.
But not for long. With a turn of the page her desired shut-eye has been replaced with a rhyme rocking good time as feet move to the music; the rhythm of all those sounds making a special syncopation for dancing in the darkness.
Just as the text moves to its own tune the illustrations compliment the intent and flow of the story beginning as soon as the cover is opened; endpapers blending into the title page with publication data bleeding into the first words of the little peeper. Marc Brown's bold, bright hues hand-painted on papers bring the characters to life with multi-layered, textured personality. The style he chose of cutting the papers in primary shapes to complete the collages renders this title particularly kid friendly (including those that are kids at heart, too).
All of his visual are two page spreads adding to the feeling that this story is a continuous harmonic melody designed to make readers shake, shimmy and clap.
I can just imagine what a viewer might think peeking in the door to the library media center when this story is being read as we all slowing but surely break into our own delightful dance.