Sanctuary: A Home for Rescued Farm Animals

HarperCollins/Clarion. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358205432.
PreS-K–Two goats have just arrived at a farm animal sanctuary. Other animals are at the sanctuary, too; a cow and its calf are pasturing, a chicken rests next to its egg, and seven piglets are nursing. These happy animals will not be forced to make milk or cheese and be raised as meat. In this sanctuary, children of different races engage with the animals under a blue sky and a green flowery field that makes animals feel at home. Denos offers a picture book for the very young that celebrates animals’ rights. The simple text has an environmental and animal-friendly motif addressing animals’ bodily autonomy. The third-person narrative style is addressed more to adults, who may want to provide child-friendly background information during story time. The graphite, watercolor, acrylic, and digital paint illustrations rely on a soft palette highlighting the green fields, the clear sky, and the peaceful disposition of the animals and human characters as they interact. The art in this story uses dandelions, garlic mustard, ground ivy, horseweed, milkweed, mullein, and other plants to convey the safe surroundings of the sanctuary. The end note refers to animal cruelty and speciesism, a line of thought that considers animals deprived of rights; Denos includes bullet points on animal activism and ways to connect with the environment.
VERDICT A thoughtful picture book with a focus and intention to bring animal rights and autonomy into the consciousness of prereaders.

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