Patti’s family owns a farm but as the youngest member, she hasn’t been able to help out much. Now that she’s turned ten, she knows that things are about to change. However, the changes don’t come immediately as Patti anticipates – she is still too small to help with a lot of the chores on the farm. She does find that she is able to do a lot of things, like take care of an orphaned chick, work on building her hand muscles enough to milk cows, be calm and smart in an emergency, and do her part to contribute to the farm. Along the way Patti learns that getting everything you want isn’t always the best thing and that standing up for what’s right is always a good thing.
Life on the Farm by author Heather Gardam is a lovely look at farm life. Seen through the eyes of its main character, Patti, the reader gets to experience the delights, hardships, and hard work that go into having a functional farm. The reader lives on the farm through Patti and watches as she gradually learns that she can help even though she is the smallest person in her family. Patti is a fun character, full of excitement and wonder. She endears herself to the reader with her overall determination to keep up with her older brother. There are some funny stories along the way, particularly that of Patti training and showing her pet chicken. There are a few stories in the book that might be a little scary for younger readers including injuries, predator animals getting into the chicken coop, and blizzards. These aren’t gruesome stories by any means, but do depict some of the realities of farm life. Overall Life on the Farm is a wonderful book that showcases what farming means on a day-to-day basis and shows that children are more capable than they might believe.
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