Review Blog

Jun 11 2013

The windy farm by Doug McLeod

cover image

Ill. by Craig Smith. Working Title Press, 2013. ISBN 9781 921504 41 9.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Environment. Sustainability. Humour. Perched on top of a hill, the rickety farmhouse bends and groans in the tremendous wind as it flurries around the farm, taking all in its path. So the pigs are flying through the air, the people are hunched against the force of the wind, the tree is groaning under its thrall. Even the title and names of the creators are being blown across the bottom of the page.
Readers will love to open the book to see how the windy farm and all of its occupants survive. And what a treat. Inventor Mum makes them all iron shoes (from old railway iron?) to hold them on them down, but in using their power tools, the electricity bill is beyond their means and Grandpa has to sell his old pig, Big Betty. When the windmill loses some of its blades, clever Mum again comes up with an idea of using both the old blades and the wind. So wind power is brought to the farm, using the very thing they have plenty of, and soon they are overflowing with money, making money for the power they are producing. But their relations down the road have not been so lucky. In an apt comparison, this family relies upon their oil well, but when it runs dry, they have nowhere to turn.
The story will have readers happily chuckling away at the antics of the families, cheering when they can finally bring their pig back home, and make money from their wind farm, able to give shelter to their now impoverished relative.
The illustrations underline the merriment, as Craig Smith details the family, the farm and its animals with obvious delight. From the Presley haired neighbour to the frantic inventions of Mum, the ailing house and the flying pigs, all is given a delicious slant with his pencil and water colour illustrations which will bring tears to the eyes of the readers as they howl with laughter, while imbuing an environmental message along the way.
Fran Knight

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