A farmer and his animals—wary of a stray dog—learn compassion in this picture-book sequel.
Old Blue, a canine left behind by his family, has been wandering and hungry for some time when he comes across a farmyard. Some of the animals worry that he might be dangerous; he could bite or chase chickens. Still, they decide to share their food and hide the dog from Farmer Jim. Their worst fears seem to be justified when Blue runs from Jim; the hens start squawking; and they hear barking—but actually, the canine was chasing off a coyote. Jim thanks Blue but plans to take him to a shelter. Eventually, the farmer realizes that though he doesn’t have much, he has enough to give refuge to such a good dog. Penshorn offers children a way to understand the plight of immigrants and refugees while also conducting a thoughtful debate on the pros and cons of helping them. Sensitive readers may find the dog’s initial suffering hard to take, but these scenes highlight Blue’s innocence and desperation. (The author also provides a two-page Parent and Educator Guide.) Jeanine-Jonee’s illustrations add drama and nicely convey emotions through facial expressions.
A moving parable about welcoming a needy stranger. (parent and educator guide, conversation starters, activities, definitions)
[Following is a volunteer review of "The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer" by Julie Penshorn.]
4 out of 4 stars
The Barnyard Buddies Meet a Newcomer by Julie Penshorn is an illustrated children’s tale related to the theme of welcoming strangers. Through her informal, personal narrative style, the author manages to convey the importance of welcoming strangers, as well as cause the reader to question and think about how he/she has treated strangers. As a result of her unique narrative techniques, the writer manages to engage the reader in the story, creating a wonderfully illustrated tale.
The story begins with a dog named Old Blue, who has lost his home, leaving him alone, hungry, and tired. After finding a barnyard, Old Blue enters and asks the farm animals for food and shelter. The farm animals are in doubt of Old Blue’s intentions, scared that he will turn wild and attack them, or that they will get in trouble with their owner if they let him stay with them. Do the farm animals take the risk and accept Old Blue, or do they shut him out? How does their choice affect their future?
In my opinion, this book is a faultless children’s story. More precisely, the wonderful illustrations add meaning to the book, helping young readers follow along in the story. Moreover, the story has been professionally edited, as I did not find even one typographical, grammatical, or spelling error in the entire tale. Additionally, the book is easy to comprehend, while young readers will enjoy the story’s plot and the themes developed by the author. Furthermore, the quality of the book is increased by the fact that the author has attached guidelines to adults about how to read the book to young children, while the inclusion of activities for children increases the young reader’s interest in the story. Besides this, what I liked most about this book was the themes and moral truths passed by the author about the welcoming of strangers, and the importance of inclusion of immigrants, or refugees. As a result, I had no attribute that I disliked most since the book has been exceptionally written.
I believe that readers of a younger age are more likely to enjoy this book. More analytically, this book has been written for children that are younger than adolescence, however, adults may enjoy reading this book along with their children. All in all, this book is rich in themes and meaning, so it can be enjoyed by any reader.
Selectively, I rate this book with 4 out of 4 stars. The reason for not giving this book any lower rating was the fact that it was faultless, as it was professionally edited, excellently written, and fit for a young-aged audience. Therefore, the author has successfully achieved her goal of discussing the importance of welcoming strangers in a manner understood by young children.