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Farmer Fred never smiled much. “Farmin’ is serious business,” he’d say. “Nothin’ funny about corn.” And so life on his farm was pretty serious. None of the animals laughed or even smiled. But everyone has to laugh sometimes, including Farmer Fed. The animals try everything to get him to smile: dancing by the light of the moon in Farmer Fred’s clothes, singing chickens, sheep disguised in sunglasses and mustaches. Nothing works and finally the animals decide to leave Serious Farm in search of a more cheerful place to chuckle and graze. Will the animals find a livelier home, and will Farmer Fred ever lighten up?
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Tim Egan is the author and illustrator of several offbeat and humorous tales for children. He is consistently recognized for his individuality and delightful illustrations. Born in New Jersey, Tim moved to California to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He still lives in southern California with his wife, Ann, and their two sons. To learn more about Tim Egan, visit his Web site at www.timegan.com. For a complete list of books by Tim Egan, visit www.houghton mifflinbooks.com.
Kindergarten-Grade 3-There's nothing funny about life on Farmer Fred's farm until Edna, the cow, decides that it's time for a change and convinces the other animals to try to get the man to lighten up. Edna climbs onto the fence and crows like a rooster, but Farmer Fred fails to see the humor. When the pigs bark like dogs, he finds it "more weird than funny." The animals dress up in his clothes and dance, but he doesn't even crack a smile. Discouraged, the creatures pack up one night and leave home. After searching high and low, the farmer finds them in the woods and has a serious chat with them about how friends and family solve problems and take care of one another. However, after giving the animals a talking to, he chortles under his breath at the notion of "Cows and chickens runnin' wild in the woods." The understated tone of the text is supported perfectly by the humorous ink-and-watercolor illustrations, from the serious countenance of Farmer Fred, mirrored in the animals' faces to their antics to his ever-so-slight smile. The author/illustrator dares his audience not to smile, but he can't be taken too seriously.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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