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Childrens Book Reviews

This Week’s Column

Farm Books to Dig into

Fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready to eat this time of year.  The books compiled here showcase farms, and animals on found on the farm.  Here is a compilation of picture and board books for kids ages two through six, except for the last book. That pop-out book is best for ages six and above.

 

The Greedy Goat, by Petr Horacek, is a delightful and cautionary tale about a goat who desires something other than grass to eat.  She begins to eat whatever she discovers on the farm.  She eats the dog’s food and washes it down with milk from the cat’s dish.  She finds the pig’s potato peels and the farmer wife’s Potts plant.  She eats both.  But with all this strange eating she becomes quite sick.  The story becomes resolved as goat finally begins to feel better again.  Children can learn the days of the week as Goat eats her way from Sunday through Saturday.  Goat also turns different colors while feeling sick which will also help kids learn.  Horacek is a master with creating his illustrations and this book reflects his vibrant colors created with mixed media.  The humor in the story makes it a perfect read-out-loud.

 

Go to Sleep, Little Farm, by Mary Lyn Ray, and illustrated with mixed media by Silas Neal, is a soothing rhyming board book about animals in and around a farm.  The gentle rhythm of the text will surely lull little ones to sleep.  “Somewhere gray mice hide their bed under roots, safe from the owl who whoo-whoo-hoots.” “Cows and horses on the hill hear their pasture grow more still. Chickens roost where chickens will.” This cozy book hales back to the popular book for sleep, “Goodnight Moon”.  Children will ask for this book to be read night after night.

 

Touch, Slide and Lift Busy Farm, published by Scholastic, is an interactive board book filled with pictures of animals, vehicles and food you find on the farm.  The many flaps to lift, texts that touch and pictures to slide enable little ones to not only learn about the farm, but also colors and numbers.

 

Portly Pig, by Axel Scheffler, has a unique component as part of this board book.  There is a large blue button that is part of every page.  When you push the button, you will hear Portly’s oink sound.  As you read through the story, you find that this pig loves to roll in the mud.  But when it suddenly rains and washes off the mud, Portly figures out how to solve that problem.  The colors are richly painted in gouache and the scenes fill the entire page. Scheffler also has “Gobbly Goat”, “Cuddly Cow” and “Higgly Hen”.  All of these books are part of the “A Farm Friends Sound Books”.

 

I Love Old Macdonald’s Farm, by Sandra Magsamen, is the perfect little board book to sing along to. There is a small change however with each animal.  When you read (and you will desire to sing as well) about each animal, the change will bring about some giggles.  The change for the cow is: “with a moo-moo here and a hug-hug there. Here a moo, there a moo. Everywhere a hug-hug.”  Each animal has a different affection to convey.

 

Where’s the Hen?, by Ingela P. Arrhenius, is a brightly painted board book that features a colorful felt flap that when lifted reveals different farm animals.  The final flap reveals a mirror showcasing you – the reader. Each open page is covered in bright hues that stretch from one page to the next.

 

Farmers Market Surprise!, by Hazel Mitchell, celebrates this wonderful time of the production of food grown on farms.  Two animals, and best friends, shop and count as they select different delicious foods at the Farmers Market.  Both friends could smell the aroma of fresh bread. “We will take FOUR loaves, please.” They then purchase the bread from the local baker.  They are buying many items for something special. You discover what this is at the end of the book.  The illustrations are bright and make you smile.

 

Baby’s First Cloth Book:  Farm, by Lisa Jones and Edward Underwood, has baby and her mommy visiting a farm.  The story features vivid images of animals and smiling faces. The illustrations are all on cloth and have colors that contrast with each other. There is even a Velcro handle to strap onto a stroller and the book is perfect for baby’s hands.

 

Ten Horse FARM, by Robert Sabuda, who is a renowned paper engineer, is a pop-out book celebrating horses.  A horse pops out at every turning of a page.  The book features scenes of horses grazing, racing, resting, and more.  Each page showcases, with these extraordinary pop-outs, horses in rural America in farm settings.  This is another brilliant engineering feat!

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