A Night at the Farm: A Bedtime Party by C+C Mini Factory


A Night at the Farm: A Bedtime Party
Review Copy from Hachette Books
The secret life of farm animals is a story you might have seen before in picture books, but never like what Quinn Metal Corbin and Chelsea Cates, also known as C+C Mini Factory, bring to the page in A Night at the Farm: A Bedtime Party. They bring tiny toys to the page with clever, creative miniature installations that remind me of some of my favorite picture books from my childhood (yes...The Lonely Doll) and sit quite nicely to the books of Terry Border (Cupcake, Peanut) on the shelves.

Take your time reading this book because there are little details - in the words and pictures - to take in on every page, starting with the farmer - "she has toiled since dawn." There must be another picture book out there where the head farmer is a woman, but I can't think of it. Rhyming quatrains take readers from the cat, indoors and sitting in front of a typewriter, to the barnyard where a dance party is kicking off. Horses try to bake (but they have "four left hooves) and rabbits dine al fresco. Pig have a spa day while a fashion show with "fabulous frocks" goes down as the "goats work the runway. / They're the greatest of all time." The humor ramps up with Hen & Teller, a charming chicken magician and her rooster assistant (who gets cut in half). The cows head to the drive-in for "Mooovie Night," while the turkey is glued to his favorite TV show, Super Heroes and Villains. In my favorite page from the book, the turkey imagines himself as part of the cast, with a pink lasso and pink cape blowing in the wind as he perches high atop a sky scraper. My second favorite page comes as the party is winding down, a row of animals, heads on pillows and tucked in, sleep masks over their eyes. As the sun comes up and the rooster (put back together) starts to croon, the farmer wakes up, which is "finally when the farm goes to sleep."

If you can't get enough of toys telling stories, check out A Town Called Panic, a stop-motion, absurdly surreal movie based on a French-language, Belgian show of the same name. It's meant to look like a child created it... There have been a handful of short features since then, including a collection, A Town Called Panic: Double Fun.

A Town Called Panic (2009, English subtitles)

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