10 Children’s Farm Books We Love
Farming is a way of life; it’s not just a way to make a living. You can find hints of farm life intertwined in everything a farmer does, from their home decor and meals to the books on their shelves.
Organic Valley farmers have some pretty deep conversations regarding organic farming, soil health and protecting where food comes from, but we recently took off our serious hats to talk about children’s books. We asked our farmers and employees to share some of their favorite children’s farm books and we’re happy to share them with you. You can find most of the below titles at your local library.
1. Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type
By Doreen Cronin
Farmer Brown’s cows like to type, but to whom are they writing? And how did they get their hooves on a typewriter in the first place? The cows have an agenda and are convincing their fellow farm animals to join the cause. Could a trade save the day? Perhaps, unless a duck gets in the way.
“Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type,” published in 2000, has spawned more than a dozen related stories. Illustrator Betsy Lewin was recognized with a 2001 Caldecott Honor for her drawings in “Click, Clack, Moo.”
2. Rosie and the Hobby Farm
By Kolina Cicero
Follow Rosie through the seasons as new animals join her hobby farm. They work, play and relax. As each new animal joins the group, Rosie learns about them and gives them a fitting name. She also learns a little bit more about herself with each addition. It turns out that taking care of animals isn’t just a means to an end.
“Rosie and the Hobby Farm” features fun wordplay and stunning imagery. Illustrator Khoa Le leans on textures to bring Rosie and the world around her to life. This book is a hidden gem that would be welcome on any child’s story pile.
3. Moo, Baa, La La La
By Sandra Boynton
Lots of noise comes from the barnyard in this board book and is sure to tickle little ones everywhere. “Moo, Baa, La La La” is full of sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary animals and the sounds they make. Keep your eyes peeled for an unusual member of the farm family.
Author and illustrator Boyton makes learning interactive with a silly side. One of the dozens of animal-related books she’s created over the years, “Moo, Baa, La La La” is an excellent starting point for her work. Also highly recommended: “Are You a Cow?”
4. The Wonky Donkey
By Craig Smith
This hilarious character sketch lets readers know just how special one particular donkey is one layer at a time. (Apparently, he needs coffee in the morning and likes specific music.) Each page brings a new silly attribute that will up the laughter factor. “The Wonky Donkey” makes quick work of becoming endearing as a book and a donkey. It’s definitely one of the funniest farm animal books out there.
Fun fact: The book came about in an unusual fashion. Author Smith heard a joke (What do you call a three-legged donkey? A wonky donkey.) and wrote a song about it. The book came along later.
5. Good Night Farm
By Patricia Hegarty
“Good Night Farm” is a touch-and-feel book perfect for the smallest listeners. The story follows a sweet owl keeping a watchful night eye over a farm. As she flies to and fro at the end of the day, she observes everyone winding down for bed. Each page brings a new group of animals or other farm friends to say good night to and a new texture to touch. With rhyming poetry and lots of words that bring warm, cuddly thoughts, it’s a peaceful read to close out a day.
6. The Three Little Pigs
A classic tale retold by Patricia Seibert
Three competitive little pigs move out on their own. When winter is coming, they decide to try their hand at building their own houses — each pig in its own way. When a wolf comes along, they learn the fastest or cheapest route might not always be the best. The three little pigs eventually band together and are able to live to see another day happily ever after.
In Seibert's retelling of “The Three Little Pigs,” internationally acclaimed artist Horacio Elena adds warmth, humor and friends to this centuries-old story.
7. Little Blue Truck
By Alice Schertle
“Little Blue Truck” features an old farm truck that beeps at those it passes by while rolling down the road. The animals say “hello” back. They don’t care so much for loud, self-important strangers. Little Blue Truck will help anyone, though. When Little Blue Truck ends up in a pickle due to helping someone, the animals don’t hesitate to help.
The power of cooperation. The power of being friendly. The power of patience. The power of being helpful. All these qualities shine brightly in “Little Blue Truck.” It also serves as a light introduction to some farm animals and other sounds. If you’re looking for farm books for preschoolers, this could be an excellent fit.
8. Charlotte’s Web
By E.B. White
Wilbur, a runty pig, is taken in by a little girl named Fern. Fern babies him, but eventually, he needs to live in a barn with other animals and is sent to a neighbor’s farm. There, shy Wilbur is coaxed out of his shell by a kind spider named Charlotte. Knowing that pigs often face a certain fate, crafty Charlotte weaves words into her spiderweb to boost Wilbur into “Some Pig.” She enlists farm rat Templeton’s help along the way. The three even make their way to the county fair thanks to Wilbur’s growing fame. The bond between Wilbur and Charlotte is just one in a million. “Charlotte’s Web” is a must-read for elementary-school-aged children.
9. Barn Storm
By Charles Ghigna and Debra Ghigna
“Barn Storm” lovingly takes on a topic that can be scary for some children (tornadoes) and turns it into something riveting and absorbable. When a storm hits a farm, some things might get out of place. In this silly story, frogs end up in the hay barn and the pig trough is filled with catfish! The cows make a break for it, but where will they go? The farm family sure doesn’t know what to think! When the sun returns, will everyone like their unusual new digs? Hint: The mornings don’t start with a cock-a-doodle-doo from a rooster anymore.
10. The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
By Carmen Agra Deedy
This is one “gallito” (rooster in Spanish) that will hold his ground for the important things. “The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet” is set in La Paz, Peru, where a fictional mayor has outlawed singing. Singing, however, is what makes the city. When the rooster moves to town with his family, he greets the morning with his song as he would anywhere. He ends up in a showdown with the very stubborn mayor in an effort to bring singing back.
Illustrator Eugene Yelchin’s unique drawing style is worth checking out on its own. He has a very distinct style that builds investment in the story.
OK, How About an Honorable Mention … or 2?
We intended to keep the book list to 10 stories, but it’s hard to stop. There are so many magical farm-related children’s books out there. If you want a smile, check out “A Birthday for Cow!” by Jan Thomas. All the animal friends want is a spectacular birthday party for Cow, but party-goers do not favor one tenacious duck’s ideas.
And then there is “Cows Are in the Corn” by James Young. Brother wakes up, and the cows are in the corn, and then the goats are in the oats and the calamity continues. What can Mother do to stop this?
We will leave the list at that. We could talk about farm books all day, but there is farming to do!
The Benefits of Farm Books
Farming books can be beneficial to children’s development. Animal sounds provide the building blocks for pronouncing other words. Children’s books about farms can also set the stage for toddlers to string words together into a sentence. They’re also playgrounds for descriptive language, which sets kids up to categorize similar things, whether all white animals or all cows, regardless of color.
Animal sounds and interactivity meld into social skills children use when they enter school. Farming books can also cultivate empathy. Children’s books about farms, including those listed above, contain a lot of heart and humor.
Of course, a book at bedtime is a wonderful way to help your children drift off to sleep. So grab a glass of milk (which may also help kiddos sleep), cuddle up and read.