A cartoonlike hamster named Stanley and two other small mammals demonstrate the steps used to plant, maintain and harvest wheat at a typical commercial farm.
Clear, bright graphics depict a red tractor emerging from a barn, along with the words “Where is Stanley? He is going to be very busy today on his farm.” Observant readers who have noticed Stanley’s pink nose on the cover and title page will also be able to spot said nose poking out of the barn door. So far, so good. The next page shows Stanley on the tractor, atop a simple, effective depiction of soil. The ensuing text teaches agricultural vocabulary and techniques to the toddler set, though without a whole lot of flair. “Stanley pulls the green plow with his red tractor.” Later: “He uses his big green combine. The grain goes into the sacks, and the straw comes out of the back.” Friends Shamus—a mole, perhaps?—and Little Woo, a smaller version of Shamus, help with such activities as spreading manure (“smelly work!”), watering and baling. Patterns of sticklike wheat turning from green to yellow are attractive inclusions. The book ends with the same confusing implication as the beginning: that everything inside the pages represents one day, instead of one growing season, in Stanley’s life. A reference to twice-daily watering is not enough to counteract this.
Steady and bright, this will appeal to toddlers looking for comfort, not thrills. (Picture book. 2-4)