Escape From Baxters' Barn by Rebecca Bond

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Burdock the barn cat sneaks into the Baxters’ farmhouse kitchen to hide behind a warm stove, he overhears a sinister plot that endangers all the animals on the farm. It’s up to him and his cacophonous cohorts to figure out how to bust out of the barn before it's too late. In this winning debut, readers will fall in love with the solitary cat, the self-effacing cow, the unstoppable pig, even a wayward she-owl—all brought to life with clever dialogue, poetic descriptions, and expressive black-and-white illustrations. This warm, lively read-aloud story about teamwork and friendship has the timeless appeal of a much-loved quilt.


I enjoyed this one. It was fairly calm and made me feel cozy. I first heard about it from a webinar, where it was compared to Charlotte's Web. This is a good comparison, in the fact that I can think of no other book to compare it to. Certainly, the quality of the writing and memorability of the characters can in no way compare to Charlotte's Web, but the plot has a similar feel. Only a few references alert the reader that the book occurs in the present day. Without these; however, it could take place any time in the last 100 years. I really appreciate this quality of the plot, as it removes in reliance on technology and time references and just allows the story to be.  Furthermore, I enjoyed the development of the animals' friendship, but would like to have seen more. Now, I will warn you that there is a morbidity about it. 

Spoiler: the farmer is broke and plans on burning down the barn for the insurance money. The animals are unsure whether he is planning on burning them along with the farm. For this reason, and the fact that Burdock loses an eye to a coyote attack, I don't think I can completely classify this one as a "gentle read." This was a little disappointing, as my original impression was that this would be a clear "gentle read." However, the premise of "Charlotte's Web" hinges on Fern's father planning to turn Wilbur into ham and bacon. Yet I think most would tout "Charlotte's Web" as a "gentle read." 

Overall, I enjoyed "Escape From Baxters' Barn." It reminded me of the animal novels from the 50's-70's that I loved so much as a child. Unfortunately, it lacks that sprinkle of magic necessary for me to consider it a "great" read.  Give this one to your borderline gentle readers, animal readers, and someone in need of a calm vacation from life.

What are some of your favorite classic animal books? What books do you give your gentle readers?


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