Life feels surreal some days here in Wisconsin. Having grown up in Southern California, the life we live now is very different from what we were accustomed to. Seeing my younger children growing up here and knowing this is the only way of life they know is strange to think about. Not that it’s bad at all, it’s just so very different from how I grew up. Different from what our older kid’s younger days were like, too.
Most of spring and all of summer in the High Desert of California were spent in 100 + degree weather. We would take drives at night when the scorching sun finally went down for ice cream to try and cool off. The kids only went outside to play in the very early morning or evening once the sun started going down. I went grocery shopping after dark.
Now we live in a small village (800 people) which is surrounded by dairy farms and corn fields. The nearest “city” is 25 minutes away and has around 33,000 people. Lots of small towns, lots of countryside surround us. It’s normal in the spring and summer to see tractors and trucks with hay scootin’ down the roads. My boys love this!
The three younger boys (6,4,&3) love all things which move, as most boys do. They love seeing all the big farm equipment. They are fascinated by the tractors, the huge plow machines, and the numerous other gigantic farm vehicles that are used around here.
They are also fascinated with farms and farmers. They want to grow their own food, they want to visit the farm animals. They are also into all the local wild life. When we go for drives through the countryside, the boys are on the lookout for wild turkeys, deer, and birds. All of this is so different from the way we used to live! Where are the scorpions, tarantulas, and vinegaroons?!
Today the boys found a video a friend gave us about tractors. They were excited and watched it right away. I found it amusing how much they like these kind of things; this got me thinking about the different kind of childhood they are having by living in the Midwest. Back home in the large Tri-Cities area we lived in a trip to a farm area would’ve been a novelty and a special field trip.
We recently have been reading through the Farmyard Tales book every night before bed. I read it to my older children when they were younger too. Lena saw me reading it to the boys and said, “I remember that book! I loved reading it and finding the duck on every page!” For my younger boys the book is even more exciting because they actually live by a bunch of farms!
Besides the fun of reading the cute little farm stories, I was really excited because Lucas actually read the book along with me! So far his reading has been words and sentences here and there, learning how to read in his workbook and online program, but not actually sitting down and reading any books to me. Just letting me read to him. When the kids are young and just learning to read I’ve learned it is best not to push them too much.
So the first story in Farmyard Tales was Lucas’ first book! He read so well and gained some real confidence in his ability. I was extremely proud of him. What makes this book good for first readers is the dual lines. The top of the page has a short simple sentence. The bottom of each page has more words. You could read the top sentences only and the story is perfect for a beginning reader (or when you want to get through a story quickly). I had Lucas read the top lines and I read the bottom. He really liked us reading the book together. The illustrations in the book are charming and give great clues for the text.
Another fun aspect is the little duck that is hidden on each page. The three boys are excited to find it as I am reading. They scan the picture and focus while they look for the hidden duck. I have to make them take turns pointing it out so they don’t fight with each other in their race to find it! The Farmyard Tales book is a big hit with my kids!
It’s a joy watching children grow and discover new things. A joy, privilege, and blessing to teach them things like reading. I often think of Saint Theophan who said, “Of all the holy works, the education of children is the holiest.” Some days educating children doesn’t feel like holy work, but then some days it sure does, with blossoming readers, curious minds, and new things to discover–those days come easier.
Do you have little farmers in your life? You can find many fun and educational books about farms, animals, gardening and more in my Usborne store. Here are a few of the great books I have to offer you for your kiddos:
1001 Things to Spot on the Farm –Kids love looking at these fun books! This charming picture book shows scenes from farms around the world, and on every page, there are dozens of things to spot. The detailed pictures provide hours of looking and talking, and dedicated spotters will be unable to put the book down until they have found all the water buffaloes in the rice fields, the cocoa pods on the tropical farm, or eight lambs on the sheep farm. Counting sheep has never been so much fun!
Farm Animals — A book for 5-7 year olds. How do pigs keep cool? Why do farmers shear their sheep? Which farm animals live underwater? In this book you’ll find the answers and lots more facts about farm animals around the world.
Farm Fun — An activity book! This delightful activity book is specially designed for sharing with young children. There are lots of ideas for drawing and painting, fingerpainting and cutting and sticking. As well as being fun, the activities will help to develop important skills such as hand control, coordination and concentration.
Wind-Up Tractor Book — This book is so much fun! It has a little tractor toy and tracks inside the book! You can play and tell stories with this fabulous interactive book. Wind up the tractor and watch it whizz around the tracks, and use the pieces to tell the stories.
Build a Picture Tractors Sticker Book — One of several tractor sticker books available. Add all the busy tractors, animals and drivers to the scenes to create the pictures in this delightful book. There are more than 100 fun stickers to play with.
Too Many Tomatoes — Eric Ode’s rollicking, rhyming garden story combined with Kent Culotta’s exuberant illustrations will have readers, tapping their toes (and digging their dirt, and sowing their seeds) as they count the too-many tomatoes overgrowing the garden, the building, the block … and more!
is popping with peas.
It’s buzzing with blossoms
and bumbly bees.
It’s bursting with berries
and beans and potatoes
and tall, twining vines of
too many tomatoes.
The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales with CD — The book I wrote about above. This delightful book contains all 20 of the popular Farmyard Tales stories. Young children will love Stephen Cartwright’s charming illustrations of life on Apple Tree Farm, and the gently amusing stories of Mrs. Boot, the farmer, her children Poppy and Sam, and their animals, Rusty the dog, Curly the pig and Woolly the sheep.
I have many more books to offer about animals, farm life, gardening, and much much more. Visit my Usborne bookstore and share these exciting and educating books with the children in your life. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!