FICTION

Wannabe Farms

Penguin Workshop. Feb. 2020. 168p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524793005.
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Gr 3-7–Wannabe Farms seems stuck in a time warp as development happens all around it. The animals are tired of the same old same old and decide to pursue their dreams. In the case of the cows, they want to build a car. The pigs want to play fancy dress up. The sheep want to style their own wool. The horses want to change the farm’s business plan and the chickens catch the acting bug. This story collection in rhyme breaks the fourth wall to frequently address the reader. Nearly 150 pages of rhyme is difficult to sustain whether reading silently or aloud—rehearsal is recommended. Both readers and listeners will need stamina. While the pace is jaunty, the rhythm frequently falters and transitions abruptly with little logic. The humor veers to slapstick, but the situations are more often puzzling than hilarious. Why would pigs wishing to dress up use food as apparel? Plentiful two-color cartoon illustrations feature frenetic bug-eyed creatures and a good deal of visual humor.
VERDICT This wannabe Seuss mostly misses the mark; but since humor is personal, it may find its audience.

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