Home > Book Reviews, Mock Caldecott 2011 > Farm written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

Farm written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

Publication Date: April 2010
Reviewed For: Ages 4- 8

Journal Review / Summary
A husband and wife and their two children live on a farm. The heavily illustrated narrative, which begins in March and ends in November, describes how each season brings different sights, smells, and activities. Using a variety of machinery, the farmers prepare for planting, harvesting, and storing crops of feed corn. The children are involved in growing and maintaining a smaller garden of vegetables and feeding the cows and chickens. As the weather becomes warmer, there is time to relax on a tire swing or fish in a creek, but the family will have to make trips into town for supplies and business transactions. While they have plenty to eat, young readers will glimpse some of the hardships of their life. Weather can delay a farmer’s plans and nearby wildlife means danger for some of the barnyard animals. The watercolor and pencil artwork, highlighting the open skies and vast prairie fields, complements the text and changes from browns to greens as the temperature rises and falls. Although the text is too long for a read-aloud, and the small images are best appreciated one-on-one, Cooper’s book will give children a comprehensive view of farm life, both visually and textually. – SLJ

Illustration Medium: watercolor and pencil

Execution in the artistic technique employed:
Beautiful, but why wobbly/squiggly on detailed small images?

Appropriateness of style of illustration to story, theme, and concept:
Unrealistic people and animals (sort of), objects are squiggly, but buildings are realistic.  Why is this?  No faces on people or animals – the farm is the most important part.

Delineation/interpretation of a plot through illustration:
Some pages seem like counting pages, but there’s no reflection of that through the text.

Delineation/interpretation of a theme or concept through illustration:
Growth, importance of farm itself, work… not shown well through the illustration.

Delineation of characters through illustration:
The characters described specifically as not having names are sad, especially the cows who just have number tags.

Delineation of setting through illustration:
Very realistic – much more sky than land, though the land is the focus. Sky is not always drawn with details (clouds/color).

Delineation of mood through illustration:
Flat & boring… lots of description in the text, but combined with the illustrations it’s flat, boring, and seems to have no point.

Delineation of information through illustration:
Illustration – no.  Text – well done.

Concluding Caldecott Thoughts:
Impressive book, but no.

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