Tuesday, May 21, 2019


By Elisha Cooper

(Orchard Books, 2010)

I'm a big admirer of Elisha Cooper's books. I've previously blogged about his wonderful Building and Ice Cream. Here again, Cooper matches crisp language with gorgeous watercolor artwork to create a cohesive book on a single topic.

What boy doesn't love the farm? The machines and the animals captivate young imaginations. Cooper has clearly studied farm life to offer a clear idea of what it's like in this setting.

Take a farmer, another farmer, a boy, a girl. 
Add a house, two barns, four silos, some sheds, three tractors, some trucks, a few farmhands, and plenty of equipment.
Then cattle, chickens, countless cats, a dog.
Put them together and you get...a farm.

A young reader is instantly hooked. As always, Cooper adds precious details to make things realistic.

Inside the tractor, the farmer drinks coffee and listens to weather reports on the radio. Every once in a while, he turns in his seat to check the tiller.

Cooper packs so much in short sentences.

It starts to rain. The tractor stops again. March is a mud month and weather must be dry for tilling. The framer will have to wait. Weather can't be fixed.

Some pages have a single scene, but Cooper typically includes several smaller illustrations to show action. Against white and soft blue backgrounds, the red images pop, just like the red barns we see when driving in the countryside. As an adult reads, a child has so much to see, so much to imagine.

Cooper takes the reader through a year on the farm, from early spring tractor preparation to the fall harvest and the time when "cattle are sent to market." (Wisely, he does not elaborate.)

In all, this is another feast for the eyes and ears as children and adults can enjoy the interplay between text and pictures. It's another book worth tracking down!

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