Up We Grow!

A Year in the Life of a Small, Local Farm
32p. 978-1-55453-561-3.
K-Gr 3—From the joy new life brings in spring to the planning that winter demands, each season on a small sustainable farm receives its due. Descriptive phrases highlight the essential work required from adults and children to care for the land and its numerous inhabitants. Clear, crisp photographs add a personal touch; contained by thin, colored borders, a combination of double-page images and small boxes captures the critical role that teamwork plays to support the family and the community. The cheery design highlights happy workers and healthy crops. Engaging questions encourage group participation, posing similarities between the farmers and the intended audience. The narrative favors description without explanation, revealing impact without much substance. "The compost becomes rich and dark, and full of goodness." The concluding note provides a brief glimpse into the goals of those involved with this way of life. While the lack of depth prevents a more nuanced examination, this offering successfully serves as an enthusiastic introduction to the satisfying values of life on a farm.—Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC
Hodge walks readers through four seasons of work on a small farm, emphasizing the contributions of people of all ages; intimate color photos of real farm families show that everyone pitches in. Hodge concludes many pages with a question for readers that both invites contemplation ("How do you care for your animals?") and offers relief from the occasionally dense text.

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