A Barnyard Bestiary


SKU ISBN 1-55143-131-9 Tag

Out Of Print


They will find me in the Highlands
Near a slough if I am lucky
Standing knee deep in the water
And They’ll think I’m killing time.

I’ll be chewing on my cud,
Something sweet and quite familiar,
Staring blankly into space
Simply waiting for the rain.

In the reeds that sway beside me
To the dry grass on the hillside
All above the roaming, dark clouds
And no need to seek out cover.
That’s why They’ve come to keep me
I’m equipped like so few others
For the rain and bitter cold wind,
For the snow and chilling frost bite,
For the long and dreary dry spells
In the scorching summer sun.
…taken from A Barnyard Bestiary

(ISBN 1-55143-131-9)

In a Barnyard Bestiary, David Bouchard focuses his poetic insight on domestic animals – some rare, some extinct, and some still quite common. The thread that binds these animals together is the way their relationship with man has deteriorated with the passage of time.

Through the voices of such familiar beasts as the Highland Cow, the Buffalo and the Ostrich, and exotics like the Blonde Mangalitza Pig and the Onagadori Chicken, he questions the wisdom of our deliberated neglect of these once prized beasts whose usefulness belongs to another era.


Selected for OUR CHOICE 1999-2000 by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre…

Shortlisted for the Hackmatack Award…in Atlantic Canada

Shortlisted for the newly created Rocky Mountain Book Award…in Alberta


“Dave Bouchard has applied his poetic talents to voicing the plight of rare and endangered domestic animals. While the publisher suggests ages 4 to 8, the poetic style and vocabulary require a more advanced comprehension. …This combination of cautionary poems and spectacular art will help readers of all ages to see their world differently.” C M Magazine, April 2000

Each creature speaks in its own voice directly to the reader, describing how humans manipulate beasts for their own benefit with little regard for the creatures themselves. As a result, the turkey’s breeding for meat alone has made it too heavy to fly or to run to protect itself. The Blonde Mangalitza pig is almost extinct because it’s not being bred, since its lard is no longer in demand.

Accompanied by a vivid full-page illustration, each animal retells its troubled history in unrhymed verse. Kimball Allen’s marvellous paintings magnify the intensity of these monologues, often depicting a creature’s direct stare at the reader. The result is a moving and beautiful book….” Quill & Quire

“David Bouchard offers the reader something enjoyable, something off-beat and something thought-provoking in this handsome information picture book. Children will delight in his selection of barnyard animals that are far from the everyday farm animals usually introduced – the poems that Bouchard has presented purport to represent the thoughts of 12 rare or displaced animals that are no longer part of the barn-yard scene – the bison, the Jacob sheep, the highland cow and other domestic animals that now seem very exotic…


A sequel to Voices from the Wild seemed natural, as it was so well received by educators and kids everywhere.

I was anxious to write something about domestic animals as I had been intrigued by so many during my research for Voices.