At some point each year we seem to do a lot of learning around the Farmyard. Young children in my program seem to have a love for barns, tractors and farm animals. Being surrounded by the fields worked by an active dairy farm helps maintain the interest year round here. We read many books over the year having to do with the farm, tractors and animals. I’m always on the lookout for new ones, but there are some that are always being pulled from the library shelves (my personal collection or local library). These books offer a variety of illustration styles, variety of writing styles, and non-fiction to more factual.
Are they all of the highest literary quality? A few may not be, but I have learned if children do not enjoy a book it doesn’t really matter about the quality.
Our top 9 Farmyard books:
- Farming by Gail Gibbons – Using simple text and illustrations this book offers a good introduction to farming and the work done on a farm throughout the seasons. (Nonfiction)
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown - Rhymed text and illustrations introduce animals that live in the big red barn. The animals are ones children associate with farms. The story follows the barnyard animals as they play one day from sunrise to nightfall, while the children are away.
- The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen - Slightly humorous text takes us month by month through the seasonal changes and the affect on the animals on the farm. Changes are depicted in simple, yet detailed illustrations.
- Old MacDonald Had a Farm illustrations by Carol Jones – As the story follows the song, guess the next animal to be found on the farm, by looking through each page’s peephole. Wonderfully illustrated with realistic detail and more of a pen/ink and watercolor style.
- Night in the Country by Cynthia Rylant - Text and illustrations describe the sights and sounds of nighttime in the country. While the people dream of daytime things, the nighttime world awakens through the lyrical text and soft illustrations. The story describes the sights and sounds of nighttime in the country. Love the questions the text asks: Who else is up so late? Who else watches and hears the sights and sounds of night in the country — the many stirrings of silence, the many colors of the dark? Leads into natural discussion while reading.
- Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming – It’s another noisy morning on the farm, and all of the animals are where you would expect the, except Goose. You get hints of where Goose, who is chasing a butterfly, is as you move through the noisy farmyard. Do not think there is a better book of farmyard animal sounds. The strong rhythm and rhyme, and fun onomatopoeic animal sounds makes this a perfect read aloud book. The strong and bright illustrations add to the energy of this book.
- Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller – A pictorial introduction to the animals that lay eggs, including chickens as well as other birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, insects, and mammals.
- The Scarecrow’s Hat by Ken Brown - Nice book for problem solving and discussion of giving of oneself. Chicken admires Scarecrow’s hat. She finds out Scarecrow would gladly trade his hat for a walking stick to rest his tired arms. Chicken doesn’t have a walking stick to trade—but she knows someone who does.
- Tremendous Tractors (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton - Through tidy verse, colorfully illustrated pages Rabbit, Bird, and Mouse show off how their tractors on the farm are used to plow, pull the harrow, the roller, the seed drill, the mower, and the bailer. Tractors get to do all kinds of fun jobs.
To see activities we used as part of lessons while reading these books check out the Preschool blog’s postings around the Farm Unit.