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The Animal Hedge
Paul Fleischman
Bagram Ibatoulline
Picture Book
Ages 6 to 8
Candlewick, 2003, 0-7636-1606-0
  Once there was a farmer who lived with his sons on a thriving farm. The farmer had cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals, and they were his great love. He loved to watch them grow and would sing songs about them. Each of his three sons also sang songs as they worked; one sang coachman’s songs; one sang the songs of a traveling fiddler; and the third sang sea shanties. They were all happy until a terrible drought came and dried up the land. One by the one, the animals had to be sold off in the market. Then the farm itself had to be sold and the farmer and his sons moved to a little cottage surrounded by a hedge. They had no land to farm any longer and the farmer took up a trade, sharpening tools to put food on the table. In his spare time the farmer began to trim the hedge. It seemed to him the as he trimmed, the hedge began to look a bit like a cow. Before long he had a whole yard full of hedge farm animals. It was as if the hedge was magical, as if it could turn itself into things.
  What follows is the extraordinary tale of how an ordinary hedge becomes a messenger of dreams and hopes. This unique tale is captivating and leaves one feeling enriched. Bagram Ibatoulline has created lush and warm illustrations in the style of American folk art with great attention being given to detail. He has so successful created the folk art illusion (the paint even has the crackle effect) that we are often convinced that we are looking at a painting that has been hanging on someone’s wall for decades. A delightful book that will warm the heart.

 

The Animal Hedge

 

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