Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Elisha Cooper
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Orchard Books, 2010   ISBN: 978-0545070751

What is a farm and what happens on a farm as the year unfolds? Is a farm the buildings, the fields, the people who work there, or the animals who live there? Actually, a farm is all of these things, and we are going to get to know one farming family that has “a house, two barns, four silos, some sheds, three tractors, some trucks, a few farmhands, and plenty of equipment.” When you add in the family of four and “cattle, chickens, countless cats, a dog,” you have an honest to goodness farm.

The story of this particular farm begins in spring when the farmer tills up the field while he “drinks coffee and listens to weather reports on the radio.” In the morning the girl feeds the cattle and the boy feeds the chickens. They have to do this every morning and both think that “morning chores would be better if they didn’t happen every morning.”

In May things start growing. The “corn shoots up,” and the farmer sprays the rows with fertilizer and pesticides. As the month flows into June it gets hotter and things slow down. The girl and the boy are out of school and for them “June is a sweet month.” The animals like it too; Homer the dog steals green beans from the garden and Bear the barn cat catches and eats a snake. Sometimes a storm blows through and for a while the quiet on the farm is gone as rain hammers on the roof and rattles windows.

This unique book beautifully captures the essence of farm life. We get to meet a farming family and all the animals that live on the farm (including the local skunks), and we get to experience the rhythm of farm life as spring, summer, fall, and winter roll by. With a lyrical text and gorgeous watercolor and pencil illustrations, this book is a joy to read and to look at.