Grandpa’s Tractor

In my last post I reviewed books about children learning the stories and traditions of their elders.  Now I want to share Grandpa’s Tractor, written by a  favorite illustrator and writer, Michael Garland.  His illustrations are bold, colorful, lively and spellbinding.   Each picture could stand alone.  As I sit and gaze at his first picture of Grandpa on his red tractor in a field at sunset, I can  feel the strange stickiness that clings to the grass as it cools at the end of the day, and hear the crickets begin their nightly song.   Children will delight in Grandpa’s story, and adults will reminisce about a time long ago.

Grandpa Joe and Timmy are on their way to visit the old farm where Grandpa Joe grew up.  Although the boarded-up farmhouse has been sold long ago, there was something special Grandpa Joe wanted to show Joey — a tractor that sat rusting in the tall weeds.   The site of the tractor floods Grandpa Joe with memories of when he was a boy and the tractor was new and bright red.   He takes Timmy on an imaginative journey about his life on the farm.  Grandpa remembers sitting on his dad’s lap and steering the tractor as they plowed the fields to plant corn or alfalfa to feed the cows.   Grandpa shows how the tractor is the center of farm life  as we pass through the seasons from planting, to harvesting, to hauling firewood for the winter and cutting down the perfect pine tree for Christmas.

Garland’s inspiration for Grandpa’s Tractor, came from an old rusty tractor near his home.  He passed the tractor for years before he began to imagine “a farmer getting off that tractor fifty years ago, and never getting back on.”   One day he knocked on the door of the farmhouse and met the farmer who had owned the tractor.  The farmer was happy to share the legacy of his tractor and life on the farm.

Garland’s books speak to children.  He is a versatile author and illustrator of many popular books including his latest Miss Smith Under the Ocean, Miss Smith’s Incredible Storybook, Miss Smith and the Haunted Library,  The Fourth of July, Snow Day,  Christmas City, The Mouse Before Christmas,  King Puck,  Mystery Mansion and Last Night at the Zoo.   He has a new release coming out Sept. 1,  Oh, What a Christmas.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

6 thoughts on “Grandpa’s Tractor

  1. What a beautiful story Pat. I can just imagine the tractor sitting in the long grass and sitting on the steps of the old boarded up farmhouse listening to the story that Grandpa Joe tells, how wonderful. So beautifully reviewed to thankyou.


  2. Glad you liked Grandpa’s Tractor. There was an element of storytelling and tradition in Michael Garland’s book, and it fit nicely with my previous two book reviews. However, this one is about mainstream America and life on the farm. I have been eager to review one of his books, as I have read just about everyone and just love his style.


  3. I have been drooling over many of Michael Garland’s illustrations on Facebook, especially of this book and have been frustrated not to be able to get my hands on a copy, so I very much enjoyed your review.

    This tied in very well with your last post. I was interested to read the source of inspiration for this PB.


  4. I know — drooling over his work is appropriate. Am so glad you enjoyed the review and I thought it tied in beautifully with my recent blog theme. It was nice to have an opportunity to finally share his work on my blog. He’s so talented. You’d like all of his booksl Joanna. Need to read Miss Smith Under the Ocean, it’s new. That is a great series. His Christmas books are so beautiful and fun for kids. Glad you enjoyed the review.


  5. Not surprisingly, this brought tears to my eyes, and wonderful memories of tractors of my youth — not Grandpa’s tractor, but Dad’s tractors. I love that the author finally started thinking about the history of that tractor. Mum used to often wonder about the stories behind things such as that, and I do, as well. I’m glad that the author finally went and asked. I can imagine how much it meant to the farmer to have someone interested in his tractor’s story.

    Thank you, Pat!


    • Beth,
      I thought of you as I wrote this review, knowing you would be near the farm this weeked. You grew up around tractors and farm life and I imagine have such an appreciation for Garland’s story. I am glad Garland knocked on the farmer’s door. Can’t imagine what the farmer thought to have someone show interest in his tractor, let alone write about an important part of his life. There is a picture of the real Farmall tractor in the back of the book. They were strong tractors manufactured from 1923-1975. Glad you enjoyed his book. Hope you’ll check out his other beautifully illustrated books.


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