Lynn: Just in time for Booklist‘s Spotlight on Crafts and Gardening is a book that is going to make a lot of teachers and librarians REALLY happy. On the Farm, At the Market (2016) by G. Brian Karas is perfect for the summer season and all those curriculum units on community, farms, and food production. It is also just a really fun book for kids to enjoy.
The story opens late in the day at three locations: a farm, a cheese maker’s, and a mushroom farm. At all of them, workers are getting ready to take their products to market and Karas provides a simple explanation of the work and processes involved. These are family operations and children are shown helping out. The second part of the book opens early on market day with the farmers setting up at a farmer’s market, then depicts them selling their wares and cleaning up at the end of a long shift. Many children may be familiar with farmer’s markets but sadly, far too few understand what it takes to create the produce and other products. Karas’ warm and charming illustrations are not only entertaining but provide valuable lessons.
Cindy: I always thought it would be fun to be a professional baker until I realized how early I’d have to wake up in the morning. I guess I don’t want to be a farmer, either, but I am so thankful for them every day. Many children have no idea about the process of growing, harvesting, and selling fresh foods. Those who are lucky enough to visit a farmer’s market get a glimpse of one phases of food production, but this book fills in some of the holes in an engaging package. Karas’ gouache, acrylic, and pencil illustrations are full of details that young children will examine closely. Mushroom growing is not a subject I’ve seen before in a children’s book and it’s fun guessing what will be on the farm-to-table menu at the cafe at the end of the book. I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of my local farmer’s market. Yay for farmers!