By Rebecca Bond, published 2015
“Burdock knew perfectly well he was strictly a barn cat. A barn cat, not a house cat, not even a sometimes-allowed-in-the-house barn cat. But Burdock loved warmth more than just about anything…”
This charming children’s book is very reminiscent of other talking animal books, such as Charlotte’s Web. It endows the farm animals with great qualities, human qualities, and clever skills. The banding together of the animals for a common cause – to save themselves from an impending fire- is the heart of the story. However, central to this children’s book is the character development of Burdock, the lone cat, who discovers the value of belonging to a community.
Since the characters are so lovable, it’s quite easy to settle into this animal world. Of course, we want them to succeed. And of course, they have an incredibly wonderful ending in store for them.
I wondered a bit about the ploy used, which was that an impoverished farmer was planning to burn the barn down. The animals of course, thought they would be burned along with it, which makes for a discomforting premise. While the book is clearly aimed at younger (7 to 10) children, I would be careful about this with children younger than 9, especially if they are sensitive children. In the end, it’s actually not clear what the farmer’s intentions regarding the animals was.
This children’s book could also be a nice read-aloud, and enjoyable to have various voices as you read the characters. It’s a perfect book for ages 9 and 10.