Friday, June 10, 2016

Down by the Barn (Will Hillenbrand)

Illustrator: Will Hillenbrand

Target Ages: 0-6

First Lines:
Down by the barn,
early in the morning,
see the little wagons
all in a row!
See the tractor driver
pull his little lever…
Puff, Puff
Clink, Clank,

Amazon Summary:  Down by the barn, early in the morning, a farmer drives his tractor, stopping along the way to pick up a calf, then a chick, then a pig. The group of animals grows and grows until at last they reach their destination...and find a surprise.”

I love the rhythm and repetition of the text, making it ideal for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners.  As each animal joins the parade, a new animal sound is added for a cumulative choral romp. Children will want to mimic and participate as you recite it. 

Midway through there is dramatic tension as a fox jumps out in an attempt to grab the chick. He is quickly and humorously put in his place though.  Another highlight that young readers will anticipate and enjoy is the sweet ending.  

The exuberant mixed-media illustrations are vivid and endearing. Down by the Barn is a perfect read out loud selection.

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
  • Practice animal sounds together
  • Choral reading
  • Dramatic play—act out the reading as a class or using toys/pictures/dress up masks
  • Sequencing—anticipate the order of events in follow up readings; after a couple times reading through it, practice putting the events in order using pictures
For more Perfect Picture Books, visit Susanna Hill's blog.  


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