On the Farm

Gibbs Smith. (Little Observers). Jul. 2021. 18p. Board. $9.99. ISBN 9781423657088.
PreS-K–Giving kids the opportunity to take note of the world around them is not only hugely beneficial to their development, but also, as this winsome pair of books attests, a great deal of fun. Each of these texts is tiny, with eight spreads in all, but the visual stimulation and questions that they’re certain to raise in the board book audience will inspire lots of enthusiastic conversations with adults. The books showcase two favorite scenes of childhood, the park and the farm, as the seasons shift, with all the additions and transformations that that entails. Beaton presents each scene as its own game of “I Spy,” filling the page with objects of intrigue or inquiry without overburdening the eye. Her compositions of recycled materials all have the homespun quality of a librarian’s felt figures at story time, furnished with a poppy-colored palette that triggers the brain’s pleasure centers. Each book ends with a page challenging the reader to go back and find a series of secondary objects, such as bales of hay and bird tracks in the snow. Kids will be inspired to become their own observers whenever they go outside, Teachers introducing a unit on life science or parents looking to engage with their little ones won’t want to miss these books.
VERDICT A delightful introduction to the developmental milestone of cataloging and quantifying, these excursions are sure to be a hit both on and off the page.

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