Donley’s (Farmer Tice #2, 2017, etc.) collection of illustrated stories chronicles the mishaps of an ill-fated farmer named Tice.
Farmer Tice can’t seem to do anything right. He tried to see the movie Snow White and the Seven Farmers only to find himself wedged between two awful theater patrons. During a stint in the Army, he was nearly court-martialed for wearing a colonel’s uniform. Then there is the fact that nearly everyone he encounters seems to want to get money out of him. Take for example when Tice was caught fishing without a license and received a $100 fine for the error. Sadly, for all of the abuse the Job-like farmer receives, he doesn’t get much in return. His obese wife, Honeybunch, despises him (“You should have known better, you idiot!” she says when he is fined for grilling hot dogs on the beach although she packed the hibachi), and it is many a night that Farmer Tice has to sleep in the barn (where he should feel himself fortunate if some animal does not eat an article of his clothing). All told, Tice is a dimmer Wile E. Coyote if there ever was one, falling off cliff after cliff only to appear again for more torment. The fun of the book comes in seeing how high the next cliff will be and when exactly old Tice will stop falling. Albeit all those falls are not for the squeamish. The stories make frequent use of bathroom humor (as with a New Year’s Eve misadventure: “the result of guzzling prune juice—the backdoor trots!”), and the accompanying illustrations only help to clarify where all those bodily fluids wind up. On the positive end, nothing seems to keep Farmer Tice down for long. Despite all the barf, fines, and his own intolerable marriage, he still has fields to plow and a barn roof under which he can rest his weary head. Regardless of one’s station in life, one can learn a lot from a farmer who won’t let his consistently poor luck keep him down.
While unapologetically gross, the book is ultimately motivational in its own peculiar way.