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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
It’s not easy being a new person to a group. Abandoned and left to fend for himself, Blue, a border collie dog, watches sadly as his family drives off and leaves him forever. He’s now a homeless refugee, looking for a safe place: a place where he knows he can sleep in the warmth and comfort of a caring family, a place where he knows he will be fed and a place where he can feel loved. He doesn’t ask for much and, in return, he has so much to offer. Too often pets are left by the roadside to find their own way. Irresponsible pet owners move on and forget about those who loved them unconditionally. Sometimes we treat people the same way. It may be difficult to accept a stranger into our midst. Like the barnyard animals who are hesitant to accept Blue because he might be mean and vicious. Sometimes we have to take a chance and, by doing so, we might find a treasure, as happened when Blue chased off the coyote before it stole the chickens.
Julie Penshorn’s picture book story, The Barnyard Buddies Meet A Newcomer, addresses some pretty challenging issues for young readers to comprehend. Even adults have difficulty accepting newcomers. Like so many abandoned pets, people around the world have also lost their homes and must make a new life for themselves in a new, strange setting. This story not only addresses issues of abandonment, but also of acceptance, helping strangers and making them feel welcome, and the powers of collective bargaining and working together to resolve a difficult issue. Taking a barnyard setting, the author has the various animals discuss the issue of the newcomer, the border collie, Blue. They each express their concerns and come to an acceptable agreement to give Blue a chance. With colorful illustrations, this is an excellent resource for young readers.