Although the American family farm may well be fading into history, increasingly being replaced by the corporation farm industry, farm picture books are still being published to this day. Many authors and illustrators keep the farm culture alive with creative stories and wonderful pictures of the classic barnyard animals preschoolers love. Farm animals make such identifiable sounds that they become great learning tools, besides being just good fun! Try these books with your children. Talk about what it would be like to live on a farm. Choose your family favorite book and act it out, with each family member taking the part of a different animal. Call your home “the barn” when you go to bed and look forward to waking up in the morning to a chorus of “Cock-a-doodle-doos” from everyone.
Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke, illustrated by Garry Parsons. Told with gusto, rhyme and rhythm, this silly story follows the barnyard adventure of a team of animals trying to get a chick out of a mud puddle. Even the farmer gets into the act. Enjoy the bright, expressive pictures as they carry the animals and you through to the silly, surprise ending.
Both of Karma Wilson’s farm books, Horseplay! and The Cow Loves Cookies live up to her reputation as a clever storyteller with a perfectly pitched ear for words that work well. Horseplay!, illustrated by Jim McMullan, takes you along with the farmer to solve the problem of his lazy horses. Discover what happens when he finally gets his horses ready to go back to work. The Cow Loves Cookies, illustrated by Marcellus Hall, makes good use of something many people love, milk and cookies! This book gives the adult reading to a preschooler the opportunity to encourage everyone to remember what each animal likes to eat and to help tell the story as it progresses. When your family has shared these two books, it might be time for a snack of milk and cookies (or whatever your family likes to eat) and then a good, long nap.
A Year at a Farm by Nicholas Harris is a wonderful, detailed “I Spy” kind of adventure for all ages. Explore the double page spread for each month and see what you can find. By the end of the book, you will feel like you lived on a farm for a whole year. Talk about what month and season you liked best. Discuss what chores you would choose to do if you lived on a farm. Look up other titles in this amazing Time Goes By series and learn about life in places new to you.