“If I Were a Farmer” chronicles the thoughts of two children, Tommy and Nancy, who want to be farmers. Paired with their pets Rex and Dusty, Tommy wants to farm the old way and Nancy wants to do things the new way. The book parallels both Tommy and Nancy’s ways of farming. Meanwhile, it teaches the terminology and process of farming a field. Young readers will be able to learn about the process of farming and decide for themselves which way they would enjoy best.
Madison: “What is it called?” “If I Were a Farmer” “Oh, cool.”
“The boy likes the old farming. He has a pet dog. The girl likes the new farming. She has a pet cat named Dusty. They both make seed beds. [Who made our house? Who made our books?] Then they make the ground flat; then they fill it up with the oat seed. The boy has to pick the weeds. The girl drives a tractor and sprays stuff on the weeds. They have to cut the grain. The boy uses the orange grain cutter. The girl uses the red. The boy is hot, he sweats tears. The girl stays cool in her cab. They sell the oats. It rains. They both get stuck in the mud! They need help but her phone broke. They are alike but different.”
“It’s way too much boring when you tell me about it. I liked the pictures. If I were a farmer, (but I wasn’t though) I would like both ways of farming. I like to look at new and old tractors. Why does he like old and she likes new? I am different from both of them. What are their names?”
Mom: “If I Were a Farmer” is very informative. There are definitions of key words in the back, which were helpful when I was trying to answer or explain a question Madison had. It explains the process of farming very well if brought down to the level of the child being read too. I really had to coach Madison with this book. Children under five do not understand the “thought” bubbles. She also was having a hard time flipping back and forth between the boy and the girl. It was as if I was reading two different stories to her but one page from each at a time. The first time reading it was confusing, even for me. I had to go back and read again in order to explain better to her. I do not feel I should have to pre-read a book for her age level before cracking it open for the first time. I
should have done that with this book; the second read was much smoother and easier for both of us, because I was able to explain the book to her.
I really felt the names of the children should have been in the front of the book, when they introduce the child and pet. Instead they do not appear until the end, which makes the reader easily forget due to the overwhelming information already given in the previous pages. She never caught the children’s names and upon asking, I had to look and see if they were mentioned. We read “If I Were a Farmer” multiple times. Madison would say she wanted to read it when I showed her the cover, but half way through she would groan and slump over to lie down. When I would ask her what was wrong she would say, “I am bored, I want to go play with Hailey.”
I really liked the information in this book. Given the set up and the level of reading I would highly suggest the reader be at least 6-8 years old. They might be able to then read it on their own, but mostly be able to comprehend it better. It is not geared to the 3-5 age range, without an adult to simplify and bring more excitement to the book. The illustrations were wonderful. They are what Madison liked best, and would fit well with any age group. Simply put, “If I Were a Farmer” was well written and informative but targeted at an age group that is below the level of the book.