German / Germany
Das wahre Leben der Bauernhoftiere
(The true life of farm animals)
Leipzig: Klett Kinderbuch, 2020. – 37 p.
Farm animals | Food production | Non-fiction | Picture book
Reading age: 8+
White Ravens issue: 2021
This non-fiction picture book has a mission, as the title clearly indicates: Its aim is to show how animals live on a farm. They are kept there to be useful to us humans – with their milk, their eggs, their meat. The endpapers, which show butter and sausage, yoghurt and wine gums, reveal that food production is the book’s focus. Lena Zeise contrasts conventional – aka industrial – and organic livestock farming. The text doesn’t sugarcoat matters, nor do the illustrations show farm life through rose-coloured glasses. Instead, the book provides photo-realistic pictures from the barn and the slaughterhouse. This is honest and, apart from kindling the readers’ respect and empathy for animals, it may also disturb and perhaps overwhelm the younger audience. However, in the end this is less due to the way of depiction than the reality behind it. [IG]