1 out of 4 stars
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Farmer Beau's Farm means well. Author Kathleen Geiger's heart is in the right place. There are underlying messages of inclusion and respect and caring for those less fortunate that are crucial for the developing child to hear from their parents and in a variety of different settings. Unfortunately, that's about all the good I can find to say about this book.
This is the kind of book I would "accidentally" drop behind my kid's dresser to avoid reading it again. Then when they're at school, pull it out and put it in my bin of books to sell at the second-hand store.
The story is geared for younger readers with a very simple plot. Farmer Beau has a farm. His wife Bamma sews and cooks. Some kittens show up, grow up, and leave, but Farmer Beau and Bamma convince the last one to stay by building a shelter for her. They name the kitten Kailey.
Kailey meets Sammy Bunny, and they become fast friends. Suddenly, because of Beau's desire to make the farm "magical," a giraffe shows up. Sammy and Kailey make fun of this strange creature because it doesn't belong. Malissa Giraffe's feelings are hurt. The friends decide to cheer her up and ask her to give the farm a chance. Then they go to sleep and realize they will all be friends for a long time. The story ends with Beau's desire fulfilled:
"Yes, Farmer Beau's farm was magical!"
I have three young children. I read each one a book each night, plus occasional morning and afternoon story times. It's no exaggeration to say I have read hundreds of different children's stories. Farmer Beau's Farm is beneath a replacement-level children's story.
I broke review protocol and shared the book with my four-year-old daughter. She loves animals--just finished zoo camp, says she's going to be a veterinarian, and has dozens of stuffed animals. She is the target audience. But she got up and walked away halfway through this story. I coaxed her back with the promise of a giraffe (she has four stuffed ones). But within a page, she was leaving again telling me it was boring and the pictures were not pretty
To be honest, she's right. The stories she makes up about her stuffed animals are far more interesting than Kailey's "adventure."
And the illustration looks like turn-of-the-century Microsoft clip art. There is little life to the animals or people.
I give this book 1 out of 4 stars. When a child who loves animals walks away from a book about animals, it is not a good sign. Again, it's got a very nice message. But it is not entertaining. At this level, falling short of that means all the well-intended lessons won't ever be heard.
Farmer Beau's Farm
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