Ten pages, most with just one clearly labeled image and a tactile surprise, make this French import a suitable addition to the crowded farm field for the very youngest babies.
A hen and a slightly fuzzy chick share the opening double-page spread with a rooster. On subsequent pages, stylized illustrations of a cow, a tractor, a dog, and a horse are easily identified by even very young children, but they may be disappointed at the subtlety of their touch-and-feel elements. The “wheat field,” with raised gold leaves against a yellow background, is challenging both tactilely and as vocabulary. Almost identical “farmers” sport the same brown boots and green coveralls. One has brown skin and short black hair and wears a sun hat, and the other has pale skin and long, red hair that is tied with a scarf, cuing them as male and female, respectively. Feminists might wonder why his tool is active (a shiny rake) while hers is passive (a small, shiny pail). The most successful tactile elements are the pig, whose mud is genuinely sticky, and the sheep’s white fleece. All the people and animals have the same eyes—a white circle with inset black semicircle—positioned so they seem to be looking across the page to their neighbors. Information that older children might look for about noises, habitats, or farm life will not be found here.
A basic conversation starter that may have a place in the book barns of infant and toddler classrooms. (Board book. 3-18 mos.)