Age Range: 1 to 5
Mrs Boot, her children Poppy and Sam and their dog Rusty have been firm favourites with my daughter since she received this book as a Christmas present when she was eighteen months old. The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales contains twenty stories (you can also buy the stories as separate mini books) and our version came with a CD. There are also Farmyard Tales sticker books and some of the stories have been translated into German.
The Stories: Mrs Boot (the farmer) lives with Mr Boot, Poppy, Sam and Rusty at Apple Tree Farm where there is always something happening. Pigs and sheep get out, kittens go missing, baby animals are born, a hot air balloon lands in the fields and there are trips to the local farm shows, on trains or to the market. Ted also works at Apple Tree Farm and is often involved with the adventures as is the neighbour, Farmer Dray, with his horse Dolly.
This book has been worth every penny and my daughter has grown up with it (it’s one of those books that comes in and out of favour, we’re in a big Mrs Boot phase again at the moment). The stories are short and simple and follow the same format, the characters are introduced and then there is usually some sort of disaster or incident which is solved by the end of the story. Stephen Cartwright’s illustrations are simple, colourful and appealing and there are two versions of the story text. A parent or confident reader can read the whole text but a beginner reader can read the short sentence at the top of each page and still have a story that makes sense. (Betty Root, author of Help Your Child Learn to Read, was the language consultant for this book which supports the beginner reader).
My daughter also loves to look at the map at the beginning of the book, it is interesting to see where all the adventures take place. There is also one of Usborne’s little yellow ducks to find in every picture.
The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales is a great first story book which grows with the child to the point where it also supports their first reading skills.
Author: Heather Amery / Illustrator: Stephen Cartwright