7 Great Farm Books for Children

Here's a collection of my favorite children's books about farms, farming and barnyard animals.  You'll notice that many of them are chicken books, because I raised chickens as a child, and have a soft spot for them and their antics.

Hattie and The Fox, by Mem Fox and Patricia Mullins


In this story, Hattie the hen is repeatedly ignored by her barnyard friends as she spies a fox in the bushes.  Mem Fox makes great use of repetition and anticipation, with a fantastic surprise ending.  I first bought the book because I loved the illustrations.  I raised chickens for many years, and the poses that Mullins chose for Hattie are so perfectly realistic -- I saw my own chickens making those same motions.  With all the different animals talking, this is also a great book if you like to do voices; high and clucky for Hattie, big and deep for the cow, and so on.  I don't think I've ever read the book without the silly voices -- it is just impossible!

Flip and the Cows by Wesley Dennis


This is one of my favorite books from my childhood.  I have many fond memories of my dad reading this book to me and my brother, and it delights me when he reads it to my kids now.  Flip is a young colt exploring his world, but he is afraid of the cows in the next pasture over.  He then goes on a misadventure in the other pasture, only to find out how the cows feel about him.  The illustrations are simple, yet realistic, and the story is actually pretty realistic itself, too.

Rooster's Off to See the World by Eric Carle


This story, illustrated in classic Eric Carle fashion, follows a rooster who sets out on a grand adventure -- well, a grand adventure by chicken standards, anyway.  Along the way, he picks up traveling companions, which are tracked by little icons at the edge of the book; this makes for a great time to practice counting, addition and subtraction.  In some ways, this book is a little sad, and a little like Aesop's Fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, only told from the Grasshopper's point of view.  But nonetheless, it's a great story about planning and a good tool to use for counting.

 

On the Farm (Bright Baby Touch and Feel) by Roger Priddy


For all the visual textures that the other books have, this one has them beat with its tactile experience.  With fairly realistic patches of fur, down, wool, and so on, your children can pretend that they're actually petting farm animals.  This book serves as a good introduction to basic animals, and the combination of bright colors and photographs means it will interest children of various ages.

 

Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin


What happens when a bunch of cows find a typewriter?  Mayhem!  Strikes!  Electric blankets!  I love that the illustrations in this book are easygoing and drawn larger than life, with all the animals somewhat a caricature of themselves.  This is a great book for adults and children alike, as parent who's had to negotiate can easily identify with the situation, and its laugh-out-loud conclusion!

Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming


If you like things loud, this is a great choice.  Goose runs around the farm, bumping into other animals along the way, who each make their appropriate sound.  The book features rhyming, and a variety if animals and sounds.  Your children will ask you to read it again and again.  Then they'll start making the animal noises, and like the end of the book, it will eventually become a cacophony of barnyard noises.  The illustrations feature wonderfully bright colors and textures, created by Fleming's distinctive "pulp painting" technique.

Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton


Another classic nonsense book by Boynton, this book will also have your children yelling!  The book details sounds animals do --and don't-- make.  After the first few times you read this, your kids will be yelling out the animal sounds, and surprise you when you get to the end, which asks, "what do you say?".  It's always fun to see what my kids say, be it an animal sound, a real word, or something totally silly.

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