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IT'S MILKING TIME by Phyllis Alsdurf


by Phyllis Alsdurf & illustrated by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86911-2
Publisher: Random House

On a Midwestern dairy farm, a young girl helps her father with the daily milking chores, leading their Holsteins to the barn, feeding the calves, shoveling manure and washing up.

The refrain, “Every morning, every night, / it's milking time,” emphasizes the repetitive nature of dairy farm chores, done “Every day of the week, / every week of the month, / every month of the year.” In short lines set on full-bleed, double-page paintings, the narrator describes the process. These cows are milked serially with a single milking machine. Pail by pail, the foamy milk is poured into cans, which are set into a cooler and later trucked away. Paddles help carry off manure, but the feeding, straw-spreading and washing up are done by hand. This farm is not yet entirely mechanized. The subdued colors of Fancher and Johnson's soft acrylics add to the sense of dreamy reminiscence. Though there are still small farms where milking happens like this, few children, today, have had a chance to drink their own fresh milk with morning pancakes, nor have their mothers skimmed off the cream for coffee. This fond memory from the author’s own childhood should find a place on shelves right next to Carole Foskett Cordsen’s The Milkman, illustrated by Douglas B. Jones (2005).

It's a lovely, poetic picture. (Picture book. 4-7)