3 out of 4 stars
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A Trip To Hideaway Farm, written and illustrated by Laurenn Prater Barker, is one of ten books in the Lae Lae series that the author has created in consultation with advisors in child education, health, and development. With every new adventure, Lae Lae makes new friends with children from different places and backgrounds. In this book, her small circle of friends takes a trip to Hideaway Farm to meet Mai, a Navajo Indian child who lives with her family on the farm. The children get to interact with the farm animals and learn something about each one. The story educates kids on what farm animals do and what they provide.
The book is just under forty-five pages long and is divided up into sections. There is the Read Along Story section, the Story Telling pages, and the Activity pages. Additionally, there is a ‘Fun Facts About Farm Animals’ page and, right at the start, some information on the Navajo nation and the Native American way of life. The author doesn’t stipulate the targeted age range of the book’s readership. Instead, she notes that it is intended to be used as a ‘read and show’ for very young children and as a first reader for the slightly older child.
I loved the look of this book. It is bright and colorful and beautifully presented, the way all good books for young children should be. The illustrations are done to a very high standard; these pictures alone will keep children turning the pages. The ethos of the book is commendable. The story is about children learning to live in harmony with the earth and all its creatures. It introduces them to the richness and diversity of different cultures. I liked, too, that the book encourages interaction between children and adults; the book’s ‘teachable moments’ rely, by definition, on there being someone around to help young readers get the most from the experience.
There are a few minor typographical and spelling errors present in the book. I’m also unsure about the appropriateness of some of the vocabulary used in sections aimed at young readers. For example, words like ‘populous’, ‘fertility’, ‘complementary’, and ‘adhering’ seem a bit advanced, in my opinion, for children on their first book.
I am awarding this book three out of four stars, deducting one star for the errors mentioned above. While these aren’t serious or numerous, their presence makes me think that the book hasn’t been professionally edited. I recommend it to parents and guardians of very young children at the show and tell stage. Teachers may also find it to be a useful resource.
A Trip To Hideaway Farm
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