Posted in picture books

Barn at Night: The best things happen before the sun comes up

Barn at Night, by Michelle Houts/Illustrated by Jen Betton, (Sept. 2021, Feeding Minds Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781948898058

Ages 5-7

This rhyming tale is all about the bustling life on a farm as a child and her father get up before dawn to tend to the animals. By the time the girl and her father enter the barn, the animals are already awake and waiting for them, complaining about the cold air they’ve let in, getting underfoot and gently demanding to be fed. The family moves on to the rest of their day, but will come back to tend the animals once again later on: “When darkness falls / and animals call / we’ll go out and feed them again”. One night, the girl wakes up to spy her father heading to the barn to greet a new life as a foal makes his debut. It’s a quiet, lovely tribute to the hustle and bustle of farm life and caring for the animals within. Endpapers show the farm at night and in the pre-dawn hours as the sky gets lighter. The paintings make every spread warm, inviting the reader to feel the enveloping safety of the barn and the animals. Readers will love seeing the familiar animals – ask about colors, animal sounds, and baby names like foal, chicks, and kittens – and will learn more about what each animal eats and how they sleep. They’ll learn about some of the jobs on a farm, like the need to get up early and feed the animals. Michelle Houts’s engaging rhyme makes for great read-alouds and her comfort with nature writing just comes across so easily. A wonderful addition to your Farm and Animal Storytimes.

Feeding Minds Press publishes books that seek to educate readers about agriculture: where our food comes from, and who grows and cares for it. The Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, and their website offers more information about their mission and their books (including the Little Ag series, which I’ll be writing about soon!). The Barn at Night book page features free coloring pictures to download, too.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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