Friday, March 26, 2010

Funny Farm

Written and illustrated by Mark Teague
Most enjoyed by preschoolers through 2nd graders

Spring planting season is just around the corner. Keep your eye peeled as you pass the fields that surround our town. You'll see farmers getting their fields ready for planting. If you're a newbie to farming like Edward, there may be a few surprises in store but probably not as exotic as those found on Hawthorne Farm. Here, the pigs pull practical jokes, the mice churn their own butter, and owners Uncle Earl and Aunt Josephine make their own maple syrup. Not much funny in that except the two are dogs and everyone knows dogs don't make syrup, right?

Poor Edward is in for a new learning experience when he visits his relatives' farm and so is the reader. While Mark Teague's text lists the activities done on the farm each day, his pictures bring the text to life and leave the reader laughing. For example, when we read that 'In the morning, everyone gets up early', we see sheep brushing their teeth and washing their faces. When it rains, we see Edward in the house watching the pigs play in puddles and Mama Robin shelter her babies with an unbrella. There's something quirky to look for on every double-page spread.

In fact, while 'Funny Farm' is a short book, it's not a quick read as I discovered the other day when reading it to some preschoolers. We lingered over every double-page spread looking closely to find the 'funny' on the farm. We weren't disappointed and shared quite a few giggles. It's the memory of that laughter that won't keep 'Funny Farm' in the shelf for long.

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