Bess the Barn Stands Strong | Book Review

Book Review of Bess the Barn Stands Strong
The Children’s Book Review

Bess the Barn

Written by Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia

Illustrated by Katie Hickey

Ages 4-8 | 32 Pages

Publisher: Page Street Publishing | ISBN: 9781624149801

What to expect: Barnyard animals, farm life, change

Bess the barn has seen many things – new baby animals coming fresh into the world. Celebrations of new life stages and the quiet peace at the end of life. Through it all, Bess the barn was happy.

But time passed, and the barn grew worn out and old. When the farm was sold to a younger farmer brimming with new ideas, things started to change. The new farmer even built a shiny new barn, and the wonderful animals Bess had loved and sheltered spent their nights there instead. “Bess felt empty. She sagged, creaked, and slumped.” How very sad!

Then one day, the sky turned a scary shade of green, and Bess knew that a storm was coming. She readied herself as the nearby shiny new barn, the place where the animals were supposed to find shelter and safety, was blown to bits. She threw her doors open and let the animals rush in, using her love to protect them from the weather. And when it was all over, the new farmer realized how wonderful Bess really was! With a new roof and a new coat of paint, thanks to the farmer and his friends, Bess was ready to open her doors to love and life again!

Bess the Barn Illustration 2

This sweet, clever story will pull at adult heartstrings while entertaining young children. The bright-eyed farm animals are sweetly drawn with serene smiles that promise peaceful bedtime reading. The story’s prose is soft, soothing, and whimsical. The cycles of life, including death and passing on, are presented in softened tones, focusing on happiness and the fullness of experience. Parents might grow teary while reading, but the gentle inclusion of death is an excellent conversation starter if one is needed. I especially appreciated how death, life, love, and happiness were mixed in one sweet, happy memory.

Bess the barn ends on a truly high note, and young readers will too. Hope and harmony, familiar animals, and clean country living are like a warm blanket before bed or naptime.

A wonderful tribute to a solid foundation and commitment, BESS THE BARN STANDS STRONG is a gem, sure to delight.

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Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia

About the Author

Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia is a former teacher and audiologist who loves to stand in old barns and listen to all the sounds. Her debut picture book is inspired by a real barn in her neighborhood that felt like an old friend before it was torn down. She lives with her husband, two teenagers, and two dogs in central Iowa.

Katie Hickey Illustrator Headshot

About the Illustrator

Katie Hickey is a freelance illustrator who blends hand-rendered print processes and digital methods and finds inspiration in her travels and surroundings. She loves drawing environments and enjoyed making Bess the barn an unusually human one. Katie lives in Surrey, England.

Bess the Barn Stands Strong, written by Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia, was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like Bess the Barn Stands Strong by following our reviews and articles tagged with Barnyard Animals and Farm Life.

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August 7, 2021 at 08:55PM Denise Mealy