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My Farm Hardcover – September 26, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lester ( Imagine ; Isabella's Bed ) opens the barn door, as it were, upon her recollections of life on the Australian farm where she grew up. Family members are introduced up front; the reader then follows the various characters through the ups and downs of one year. As narrator, Lester also lets readers in on some more personal matters--such as her longing for a new pony or her attempts to become famous. Summer days, she reports, were filled with driving "mobs" of cattle, picking blackberries and, perhaps, taking a swim. Australian autumn brought new calves, rainstorms and mushrooms; after a winter spent doing chores, springtime marked the season for "tadpoling and fishing expeditions" as well as baling hay. Children will likely be fascinated by the different seasons Down Under. Lester's fond remembrances contain dollops of humor and tenderness, and a wealth of information about farm life can be inferred. Through it all, the author/artist's childlike sensibilities keep the pace lively. Her somewhat pale watercolor palette accommodates each of the seasons, offering a pleasant glimpse at a foreign landscape. And her friendly cast of kind-faced figures is truly likable. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-American readers will be introduced to a "jinker," a "bush run," and "mobs of cattle" in this gentle memoir. Spanning one year of her childhood on an Australian farm overlooking the sea, Lester's narrative begins and ends near Christmas time in the summer-perhaps a puzzling combination for northern hemisphere children. The scant story line-a child longs for a horse to replace deceased Inky-weaves in and out of the scenes of the everyday life of this family of four children. Such events as the Quietest Pony Contest, the dog high jump, a difficult calf birthing, and cattle drives are engagingly described. Illustrations are plentiful and intricate; varying sized panels (often three per page) create a design that adds great visual interest. The straightforward family portrait that stretches across the top of the first page is particularly charming, introducing each member astride a horse or motorbike. The author's writing and illustrating style is delicate. Her watercolors, neatly lined with ink; the highly stylized figures and faces; and the abundant detailing all contribute to this lovely picture book.
Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, WI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 26, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395681936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395681930
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 11.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "hurburgh" on November 16, 2000
Format: Hardcover
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What's it like growing up on an Aussie farm? Read Alison Lester's "My Farm" and you will be captivated by her reminiscences.
You will follow young Alison and her two brothers and sister through the highs (many) and lows (a few) of their young rural lives.
There's lots of Aussie bush humour shining through. Painting clay stripes on an old black horse gives you a "Native Australian Zebra" and entering your Kelpie sheep dog in the dog high jump is all part of the fun.
We are not shielded from the harsher realities of life in the bush. We are threatened by bushfires; round-up runaway cows and we even assist mum to deliver a newborn calf.
We enjoy the bounties of nature and go picking wild blackberries and field mushrooms.
There are some esoteric references to which only Aussies might relate, such as children swinging on the rotary clothesline, best known as the iconic Hills Hoist.
Alison's illustrations have a quirky charm. Faces are simply drawn, but the atmospherics of the landscapes and farm scenes are exquisite.
"My Farm" is the most sophisticated of Alison's works and neatly supplements her other works such as "Bouncing and Bumping" for the younger reader and "Imagine" her most successful book.
Some readers may want a glossary of Aussie terms eg chooks = hens, drover = cowboy, mobs = herd, but these all give a delightful flavour to a book which will have great appeal to all young children.
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Format: Hardcover
Beautifully written book ("soft, purple sea" is lovely), with an episodic story, given shape by the progress of the seasons - and, of course, the protagonist's desire for a pony. The pictures are a little flat and generic, though, lacking the vividness of the prose. Along with earnest discourse about Vegemite and po-faced singer-songwriterish ballads about Don Bradman, this book belongs to that slightly awkward genre of self-conscious Australiana: there's something almost a bit insecure about its insistence on a distinctive national-cultural past experience, and oddly self-othering about its use of Australian English ("chooks" and what-not) - as though this were being experienced as charming "local colour" by the author as much as her readers in other countries. Not helped in this case by the author's faintly pleased-with-herself emphasis on the gloriously "free-range" character of her rural childhood. Can't think who her audience would be for this stuff: urban youths who, inspired, might decide to drop their videogame controllers and retire to the countryside?? Anyway, there's something a bit preachy and self-regarding about this book's brand of nostalgia - and it left this adult, while reading it aloud, to speculate about all the negatives. We don't get to hear about what kinds of remarks the protagonist's parents made about aboriginal people when standing in their homey little kitchen. I wonder.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alison Lester is one of the best illustrators and writers for children. Her picture books are classics. While 'My Farm' is set in Gippsland, Victoria (Australia), the tale of a young person longing for a horse of her own and family life on a farm is accurate and enjoyable - describing ups and downs as the year unfolds. Highly recommended!
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