Michael Garland, Author and Illustrator
Astra Young Readers, Fiction, Oct. 11, 2022
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: Farm life, Intergenerational relationships, Memories
Opening: “Grandma and Timmy were taking a trip to the old farm. Timmy had visited before with Grandpa Joe, but this time would be different.”
Book Jacket Synopsis:
When Grandma Ginny lived on the farm, every day brought a new adventure, from planting and picking crops to collecting fresh eggs from the chickens coop. Some days even saw chaos, like when the unruly pigs escaped from their pen and had to be chased down by the entire family.
Now the animals are gone, the farm building rickety and abandoned, and the fields overgrown with weeds. But as Timmy listens to his grandma’s fond recollections, he sees the quiet land transformed into colorful scenes of bountiful harvest, hustle and bustle, and everyday joy and purpose.
In this companion to the beloved Grandpa’s Tractor, a grandparent and grandchild celebrate the beauty of sweeping farmland and shared family history.
Why I like Grandma’s Farm:
Michael Garland has written and illustrated a charming story about a relationship between a boy and his grandmother. There is so much heart in Grandma’s Farm as Grandma Ginny visits her old farm with Timmy. She carries with her a diary that is full of special memories she wants to share with him about his family, farm life and their many traditions.
Even though the farm house and building have fallen into disrepair, Grandma Ginny’s vivid memories of raising her family and the daily work in the lush green fields, breathe life into this beautiful story. Timmy and his grandmother travel back in time when the entire family pitches in to help. There are fruit and vegetable crops to plant and pick, cows to milk, pigs and chickens to feed, eggs to gather, and sheep to shear.
Garland’s book will speak to children. Timmy imagines how his family worked together, including his own mother and her siblings, to help with chores, cook meals together, set the table and wash dishes. They laugh, play and spend quality time together. It doesn’t get any better than that. Children will delight in Grandma Ginny’s story, and adults will reminisce about a time long ago. I know I did as I thought about my childhood visits to my uncle’s working farm.
Each Garland illustration could stand alone. They are warm and tender and recreate a life that few children will ever experience. That is why this book is so important for young readers who haven never seen a working farm. This is a stunningly illustrated celebration of family traditions and being together with loved ones.
Grandma’s Farm is a sequel to Garland’s picture book, Grandpa’s Tractor, which I have on my book shelf and gifted to an earlier generation of grandchildren. My great grandchildren will be receiving copies of this treasure. Make sure to read Garland’s comments about Grandpa’s Tractor, as it will give more information about the condition of the farm today.
Resources: Visit a working farm this spring or summer. If you don’t have a vegetable garden, plant one in your backyard. If your space is limited, plant herbs or tomatoes plants in a pot on your patio. There is nothing like getting your hands dirty.
Michael Garland, an author and illustrator of children’s picture books, including the perennially popular Grandpa’s Tractor, has won numerous awards for his work. Miss Smith and the Haunted Library made the New York Times best seller list. He is the illustrator of the Golden Kite Honor Award-winning Leah’s Pony. He recently released We’re Not Weird: Structure and Function of the Animal Kingdom. He has authored Ferry Boat, Tug Boat, Daddy Plays the Blues, Snowy Day, Christmas City, and Oh What a Christmas. He lives with his family in Patterson New York.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Reviewed from a purchased copy.