Alison Lester, My Farm (25th anniversary edition), Allen & Unwin, August 2017, 32pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781760293901
My Farm, written and illustrated by the much loved and prolific Australian children’s author Alison Lester, is being celebrated with a special 25th anniversary edition. My Farm is a book which perfectly, and realistically, captures the day-to-day life of an Australian farming family. From galloping on horses and mustering cattle, to feeding out hay and butchering their own meat, the story depicts a range of tasks and adventures the family members take part in throughout the year.
What makes this book so special is the sensory details and anecdotes, e.g., when the narrator helps her mother deliver a calf and describes how she soothes the cow with her voice, or the description of rides through misty valleys, arriving home with such cold hands that their mother has to unbuckle the bridles for them. Lester grew up on a farm and through these realistic descriptions gained from her own experience she conveys a vivid sense of life on a farm. Many children who live in the country or on farms will relate to this book, while other children who don’t, will be able to get an understanding of what farm life might be like.
There is lots to look at in this book. It’s almost like looking though a photo album as Lester’s brilliant, detailed watercolour illustrations accompany each anecdote, sometimes with several smaller pictures on a page, other times, a full-page illustration. The full-page illustrations have been compiled to make a limited-edition wall frieze, available only with this edition, that children will love.
My Farm is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. There is quite a lot of text, making it best for children around 3-7 years of age.
Reviewed by Rebecca Blakeney