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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Barnyard Gossip is Volume 2 of Donna Lea Taylor's children's animal series, Barnyard Buddies. Things were going pretty smoothly at McDoogle's farm until Cleo the Cat started gossiping. Cleo enjoyed a bit of gossip here and there, and because she talked about the other animals living on the farm, she was always suspicious that others were talking about her as well. One day, she noticed that White Bear, the Great Pyrenees dog who had been a stray before he befriended Jake the horse, was talking with Sissy the sheep. When Cleo approached, they both looked guilty and grew quiet. This kept on happening every time Cleo saw White Bear talking to another animal. She figured he was spreading gossip about her, and she decided to pay him back. Someone had been stealing eggs from the hen house, so Cleo started spreading a rumor that White Bear was the egg thief.
Donna Lea Taylor's children's story, Barnyard Gossip, is the second of the Barnyard Buddies series, and it's marvelous. I really enjoyed Barnyard Bully, the first book, and was excited to see that the second volume was available. The Three Amigos - Jake, Ollie the owl with the English accent, and White Bear - seem like old friends, and I quickly got involved in the plot. Taylor's stories illustrate just how entertaining and educational a well-written fable can be. There's a real crisis when White Bear is ordered to leave the farm and a beautifully orchestrated resolution as the animals band together to find the real egg-snatcher and prove White Bear's innocence. The Barnyard Buddies are for children of all ages, including those fortunate adults who get to read them aloud with their children. Barnyard Gossip is most highly recommended.