Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family's Farm

Our Farm: Four Seasons with Five Kids on One Family's Farm

Michael J. Rosen
For ages 8 to 12
Darby Creek Publishing, 2008   ISBN: 978-1581960679

Most people in the United States have no idea what it is like to live on a farm. Some people have an idyllic view of farm life, while others have only a vague understanding of what it is like to live and work on a farm. In this book Michael J. Rosen shares a year with the Bennett family and their animals. Dave and Becky Bennett have five children and they have a farm with 150 acres of land, around 30 cows, three dogs, a flock of chickens, and a 2 or more barn cats. They live in Perry County, Ohio, and though their life is not easy, they all have a deep fondness for the land and country life.

The narrative begins with an introduction - we get to ‘meet’ the children, the parents, and many of the animals. Then there is a description of the farm. This description is followed by the main narrative, which is presented in chronological order beginning with winter. For each topic covered there is an introduction and then a ‘conversation’ with the family members. We find out that Ali, the youngest member of the family, always falls down when she ice skates and that she thinks snow tastes like homemade ice cream. We learn that the children like to build forts with the hay bales in the hayloft, but the fort gets eaten by the cows as the winter progresses until there is nothing left.

In spring the family members tell us (among other things) about the trees on their land, how important their fences are, what kinds of machines they use on the farm, how Angus the dog tries to herd the machines as well as the cows and the people, and what they do when the cows start to give birth.

What makes this book so different is the way the story is most told by the members of the Bennett family. We can almost hear their voices as they tell us about their victories, their losses, and the life that they share on the land.

Full of wonderful photographs and packed with information about farm life, this book should be found in every library and classroom.