Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Down on the Farm

I had a day care center and a preschool visit us at the Warrenton library this morning. For no particular reason, I decided to do a farm storytime. I rummaged through our puppets collection and collected enough puppets for a rousing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" sing along. More importantly, I collected some terrific read alouds!

There's not much story to Tractor Day. There's rhyming text (and not of the forced rhyme persuasion). There's also big and bright illustrations, ideal for a large group storytime. We follow a young girl (3 or 4 years old?) and her dad on an ordinary day on the farm. From the uncovering of the tractor at morning's arrival to driving the tractor back to the shed at night, the little farm girl and her parents go about the day's work. Plowing the soil, planting seeds...all in a day's work on the farm.

I love doing farm storytimes here in Fauquier County, because there's a good chance that there will be some farm kids in the audience (did you know that we have 1,344 farms in our county?). Sure enough! There were quite a few kids who volunteered the fact that their daddies had tractors, that they had horses, and could go into great detail as to why a farmer would have a scarecrow in his field.

There are plenty Old Macdonald Had a Farm books, but this one is unique. It has a lot of neat "sound effects" that the children will love to imitate (zzz! zz! here and zzzz! zzz! there, for example, when we see a saw). It's all about tools and machinery-little boy interest factor! . BUT! Old MacDonald is female! So....we have a book with invites the kids to sing along, appeals to tools obsessed little guys, and shows a female character in a nontraditional role. Could this be a storytime trifecta?

Another classic from Margaret Wise Brown. Big Red Barn is all about the farm animals-no humans in sight. All matter of fauna are represented, from the bantam rooster, to brown cows, and near the end, the little black bats flying out of the barn at night. Notice the progression of very bright and active illustrations to the darkening of the day.

Also recommended:

My Cousin Katie

Good Morning, Chick

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