2 of 4
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm
written and illustrated by Alice And Martin Provensen
"This beautiful, funny, unsentimentally moving children's book is set in rural Vermont. My wife and I routinely give it as a gift to new parents. We love that none of the Provensen's dogs or goats or cows are cutesy; none of them talk. But the authors' simple observations on the temper of geese, the laziness of certain horses, the vanity of some cats show them to be true characters.

The book was written more than 40 years ago and concludes with a touching inventory of the animal friends that have passed. This may be seen as controversial to those who feel kids should be shielded from any knowledge of death. But I find its message to be luminous with the beauty and fragility of life."
— John Hodgman, Vacationland