Friday, March 30, 2012

Future Farmers of America, or My Visual Memories of North Dakota


by Elisha Cooper

Not just your typical "farm" book.

I found this title at the latest Scholastic Book Warehouse sale. In a sea of books, for a title to jump out at me says quite a bit about the cover. However, not wanting to judge a book by it's cover, I did a quick scan. I liked the illustrations (pencil and watercolor) and what I read of the text.  Later after a deeper perusal, it has become one of my highest recommendations. It isn't a new title, it was published in 2006, and awarded the Society of Illustrators 2006 Gold Medal.

The book tells of a modern working farm in the Midwest. I have done my time in North Dakota, and the illustrations, especially those capturing the sky (that big sky of the plains), were so similiar to my own visual memories.
farm3This isn't non-fiction, but it is a realistic look at a year on a farm. It explains much of what goes into the process of farming (plus a glossary for pesky farm words not all city kids might know).

farm4“After a storm, the farm swells with sound. The corn rustles. The cattle bellow.
A tractor echoes in and out.
Birds quarrel. Bugs hum. Their hum is constant.
Even the clouds seem to make sound as they bump across the sky.
For a quiet place,
the farm is not so quiet.”
The story includes the family, the farm hands, the animals.


The page on barn cats includes their names and characteristics. Lovely!

It progresses from the bare dirt fields of spring, through the growing and heat of summer, through harvest time and selling of crops, until the fields return to bare dirt in late autumn.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I'm convinced! Your beautiful description grabs my attention quickly, and now I am thinking that I MUST own this book. These illustrations are so beautiful as they capture the big sky over the plains of North Dakota. ("O Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain....")