September 4, 2014
Doug Unplugs on the Farm by Dan Yaccarino
Doug Unplugs on the Farm
by Dan Yaccarino
Alfred A. Knopf
Doug and his parents are plugged in and on their way. Mom wants him to learn all that he can about farms before they reach the grandbots farm. Before they can get there, a herd of sheep runs across the road in front of them, unplugging the entire family and sending the car into a ditch.
Doug happily jets off to apply all that he has learned about farm life and give the farm girl chasing the sheep a hand. He ends up helping her with all of her chores and, not surprisingly, expanding his knowledge of farm life by taking part instead of just plugging in. They milk a cow, restack hay, pick apples, feed the ducks and even slop the hogs.
All the while, his parents are trying to get the car out of the ditch.
When it turns out that the tractor is out of gas, Doug combines his real world knowledge with his plugged-in knowledge to save the day. Yaccarino’s artwork combines blocks of color and simple black lines in a way that reminds me of some of the earliest picture books such as Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag. Reminds me, but does not duplicate because he uses a broader array of colors that look more contemporary than do the illustrations in Cats.
This is the sequel to Doug Unplugged and you may have noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a Dan Yaccarino kick (I also reviewed All the Way to America and The Fantastic Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau). I am attending the Missouri SCBWI Fall Conference for writers and Illustrators. Yacarino is one of the speakers.
I’m continually amazed at how he combines art work that looks a bit “retro” with stories that are timeless and applicable to the world of today in their themes. If you haven’t picked up any of his books, take a trip to your library or book store. Your young reader will thank you!