Review Blog

Nov 06 2012

On the farm by Roland Harvey

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 978 1 74175 882 5.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Picture book. Agriculture. Humour. For those who have enjoyed Roland Harvey's series of books about holiday adventures around Australia: going to the beach, the bush, the city, the top end and Western Australia, here is another to enjoy, as the family goes to visit Uncle Kev on the train. All sorts of experiences are to be had, many emulating the nursery rhyme, Old MacDonald had a farm. For those new to the work of Roland Harvey this is a treat, showcasing his style of presentation, the array of little figures and drawings, pages filled with life and movement, inventions, humour and things to search for.
Each double page opens to a different vista of the farm. One of my favourite pages is that with the orchard, where Henry is sent to spread the poo to fertilise the trees. Most of the page is covered with the fruit trees and between the trees is drawn an array of things to catch the attention of the readers. On the bottom left hand side an old car is making its way to the trees with the owner singing, 'I'm a fruit tree' which will be parodied by many of the readers. Along the road are several other cars of indeterminate vintage with extraordinary appendages. One child is flying a kite of sorts, another is sending a letter by pigeon post, while further into the trees people are picking fruit in various ways. In the centre of the page is a small train pulling along several of the family, while a tractor is pulled by a pig. And that's just for starters. Each double page will hold a child's interest for quite a while, as they look at each of the little pictures drawn and relate it to the text on the left hand side. And I love his poem about the shed.
Each of the family has work to do to get the place ready for the festival, as well as cope with Kev's foray into the world of romance.
Very funny, absorbing and informative, all readers will have such a good time with this book as they pore over the minutiae of life displayed on each page.
Fran Knight

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