Review Blog

Jul 25 2012

Farmer John's tractor by Sally Sutton

cover image

Ill. by Robyn Belton. Walker, 2012. ISBN 978 1 921150 94 4.
(Age: Pre-school - 6) Recommended. Floods. An orangey-red old tractors sits in a shed, seemingly rusting and unused, until there is a flood. A car with two little girls gets stuck in the rising floodwaters. The jeep that tries to rescue them rolls on its side; a tow truck gets stuck and the fire-engine slams to a halt on a slip. Then Farmer John comes up with an idea. Unlocking the door to the shed, he brings the trusty tractor to the rescue.
Teachers doing a unit with young children about disasters and in particular floods, will find this beautiful picture book very useful. The illustrations in watercolours by Robyn Belton bring the wet weather to life. The swirling murky waters of the flooding river, the brown mud and the oppressive sky tell vividly what can happen during a flood. The oppressive atmosphere is lightened with humorous touches like the chickens nesting on the tractor and the little dog following the farmer around. There is a plethora of detail in each of the pictures for inquisitive children to pore over and talk about.
The story of the tractor, which is rusty but trusty, will appeal to young children as will the rhyming language that makes it a good read aloud.
Pat Pledger

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