Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Farm through Time: The History of a farm from Medieval times to the present da

A Farm through Time: The History of a farm from Medieval times to the present da

Angela Wilkes
Illustrator:  Eric Thomas 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 9 to 12
DK, 2001   ISBN: 978-0789479020

The story of this farm begins in 800 A.D when settlers arrive and begin to clear and prepare the land. They rent the land from a lord and will pay him for the use of his land with a portion of the crops that they grow and some of the livestock that they raise. They begin to build a farmhouse to live in, one section of which will house the animals during the winter.

Over time more and more buildings are added to accommodate the animals, the tools, and the crops. Then in 1300 a new house is built using stout timber beams and in 1500 the farmer finally manages to buy the land so that it now belongs to his family and not to a lord.

In 1700 the now wealthy farmer is able to build a new house which is much bigger and which is made of brick. The old house is used to house the servants and the farm bustles with activity.

By 1800 the open fields have been broken up into smaller ones which are enclosed with hedges. New kinds of crops are grown in rotation and workers come from the nearby village to help work in the fields and to tend the cows. Now the dairy plays a major role in life on the farm. It is here that the milk is turned into cheese and butter.

The 1900?s bring big changes as horse power is replaced by steam. Now machines are used to thresh the wheat and fewer people are needed to do the job. By 2000 there are even fewer people on the farm as there are many different kinds of machines to do the work that men and women used to do.

The author and illustrator of this lovely book not only tell the story of the farm through the ages but they also show us how different chores and jobs are done at different times of the year. The spring is for sowing and planting and for shearing the sheep. In the winter trees are cut down and fences are made and mended. In the fall it is harvest time and everyone is very busy bringing in the crops and storing them for the winter.

Wonderfully detailed illustrations fill the pages as we watch the farm evolve over time. On several pages there are secondary pages which open up to reveal the interior of the building or a new scene.