Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Andrew Clements
Illustrator: R. W. Alley
Publisher: Clarion Books
A little boy and girl have headed to the farm to visit their grandparents, but it doesn’t take long for them to get into mischief! As kids will be kids, these two end up stepping in manure by accident, trying to carry a huge bale of hay by themselves, spooking a hen while looking for eggs, peeling apples all wrong, and lighting a very smoky fire. At every turn and with every problem, Grandpa and Grandpa could react by reprimanding the kids or doing the job themselves, but they don’t—they patiently and kindly help their dear grandkids, and everyone works together to get things done.
Though this book contains a positive message of love, patience, and family, and its illustrations are warm and appealing, it may find a limited audience considering its very specific content. For example, many children may have the type of kind grandparents presented in this book, but probably only few have experienced farm life with them (or in general), making it difficult for those children to relate to it. That being said, this book could easily be used as a tool to teach more about farm life, or to prompt a discussion about how and why we choose to react to things in a certain way and how those choices affect others. The text is not especially lyrical and is not meant to rhyme in any sort of way, but it tells the story well and could help young learners expand their vocabulary. All in all, this book would be wonderful for a certain limited audience and perhaps enjoyed by others as well.