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The Jolly Barnyard (1950): Who Gets the Wishbone?

Annie North Bradford, The Jolly Barnyard (Golden Press, 1950)


The jolly barnyard's inhabitants mill about on the book's cover.

Which one of these animals will not survive the year?
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Now, this one…I’m not entirely sure what to say about it. In the 1950s, it probably went by without anyone batting an eyelash, but in 2013, I’m kind of amazed that some of the more nutbaggish animal-rights groups haven’t been all over this book. The storyline is relatively simple: on the farmer’s birthday, he goes out and gives all the animals a treat, and then they have a quick confab about how each of them can give back. Most of it is about what you’d expect (the horses will pull the wagon with extra vigor, the cow will work on high-quality milk, etc), but then you get to Mr. Turkey, who, he alleges, will never be so proud as when he offers up his neck to the axe. Though, granted, it is not put quite so crudely (he mentions “decorat[ing] his Thanksgiving table”), but still, you can see where They Who Shall Not Be Named would have a huge problem with the idea that an animal would go willingly to the slaughter. It raised my eyebrows, and the only thing I like better than turkey on Thanksgiving is stuffing scooped straight outta the bird (and fie on those who tell me I’m courting food poisoning). If you are affiliated with, or sympathetic to, said nutbaggish animal-rights groups, check this one out of the library before deciding whether you want to add it to the permanent collection; everyone else, harvest a pound or so of cranberries before cracking this one open. You may need them. ** ½


About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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