Children’s Book Review: “Farmer Dillo Paints His Barn” by Jesse Adams, Illus. by Julie Speer and Christopher Owen Davis (2006)

Bet you can’t guess what kind of animal “Farmer Dillo” is! This chunky, CGI armadillo lives in a colorful place called Sundown and is struggling to decide which color he should paint his barn. After making several key errors and nearly losing sight of his camouflage barn, Famer Dillo finally chooses the best color for his new barn, a classic red.

Children enjoy interacting with the pictures in this book, trying to find the blue barn against the sky, the green barn against the trees, and the yellow barn against the setting sun. In fact, I even had trouble finding the black barn on the page showing the darkness of nighttime! The concept for this short book is unique, and it’s a good review even for kindergarteners of their most important colors. I especially enjoyed the “that’s life” attitude toward the end of the book when, after all his hard work of painting his barn the perfect color, Farmer Dillo “STILL can’t see his red barn” in the dark. It reminds me a little bit of an O.Henry twist, only for 4 year olds.

The artwork in this book is certainly an early attempt at CGI, yet powerfully colorful. Farmer Dillo is a cute character with some personality, though I especially liked the shape of the green bird. It’s cool how the final page incorporates Farmer Dillo’s trials by fitting in photos and paintings of the blue sky, green trees, etc. This is a simple book, but one that achieves its goal of teaching colors in an interesting, interactive way.
©2015 E.T.

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