Picture Book Nook: Old MacDonald’s Farm, illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Everyone knows the song – Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.  In this latest picture book version of the song, one of New Zealand’s most talented illustrators, Donovan Bixley, has given the song a uniquely Kiwi twist.  As soon as you open the book you get a dose of Kiwiana with illustrations of some of the things you might find on Old MacDonald’s New Zealand farm.  You can’t help but sing the song as you join Old MacDonald on a typical day on the farm.  These cows don’t just go moo-moo here and moo-moo there, they also make a mean milkshake.  The dog bakes ANZAC biscuits, the pigs have a beauty salon and the sheep get fancy haircuts.  Who knew Old MacDonald’s farm was so remarkable?

Donovan Bixley has to be one of New Zealand’s most talented illustrators.  He has a very unique style of illustration and the way that he portrays expression in his characters is amazing.  I especially like the look on the cow’s face as its preparing its smoothy.  Donovan’s illustrations depict not only the beautiful New Zealand landscape, but also items that you would find on a Kiwi farm, from Old MacDonald’s Swanndri to his gumboots, black singlet and All Black’s jersey on the washing line.  You’ll also find a Buzzy Bee toy, an Edmond’s Cookbook, Hokey Pokey Ice Cream and a bottle of L & P.  The large illustrations of the animals make this a great book for sharing with a group while singing the song.  I look forward to seeing what Donovan will do next, but in the mean time I’ll check out the other classic song that he has illustrated, The Wheels on the Bus.

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