Here are my favorite children’s books about farms. The traditional storybook farm (e.g. Old MacDonald’s farm) is radically different from modern farms. The books below are all wonderful children’s books that together give children a slightly more realistic introduction to how food is produced.
Note: If I were serious about conveying accurate information to my kids about farming, I would purchase a bulk lot of 10,000 chickens for my kids to raise on their toy farm. Instead, my kids’ toy farm has 2 chickens, 2 cows, 2 horses, and 1 tiny tractor that pulls a cart.
Farm Alphabet Book by Jane Miller. Introduces babies and young kids to things found on farms with clear, high-contrast photos. Farm Alphabet Book also includes information about farms for older kids. (e.g. “Pp pig This mother pig is called a sow. A father pig is a boar. The young pig is a piglet.”) Ages 0+
Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington. One of my children’s favorites. Apple Farmer Annie describes Annie harvesting apples; making applesauce, apple cider, and more; and selling her apples and apple products at the farmers’ market. Ages 3+
Winter on the Farm by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jody Wheeler, and Renee Graef. A true story about a boy named Almonzo who lived with his family on a New York farm in the late 1800s. Adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Farmer Boy, Winter on the Farm describes Almonzo helping his father and older brother care for their animals. Ages 3+
Tractor by Craig McFarland Brown. Describes how a farmer uses his modest tractor and attachments to prepare the soil, plant seeds, harvest corn, and haul the corn to a roadside stand. At the back of the book, each attachment is described in detail. Tractor has nice, cozy illustrations of the farmer’s faithful dog following the tractor, robins caring for their young, and rolling hills. Ages 3+
Maple Syrup Season by Ann Purmell. With the tone of a storybook, Maple Syrup Season has a lot of information about how maple syrup is made. The book describes the Brockwell family collecting sap, boiling the sap, and making maple syrup. I love the colorful, detailed illustrations, which include birds and other animals looking on. Christmas Tree Farm is another excellent book by Ann Purmell, this time about a Christmas tree farm. Ages 4+
The Year at Maple Hill Farm by Alice Provensen and Martin Provensen. Written in 1978, The Year at Maple Hill Farm describes a storybook farm with cows, chickens, sheep, horses, goats, pigs, corn, and pumpkins. While the farm described is dated, the detailed illustrations of the farm and descriptions of how the farm changes from one season to the next remain appealing. Ages 4+
Life on a Goat Farm by Judy Wolfman. One in a series of great, informative books about various types of farms. Told from the perspective of a young boy named Jimmy, Life on a Goat Farm makes living on a goat farm sound like fun, explains the hard work involved in taking care of goats, and shares a lot of information that will be interesting to adults as well as kids (e.g. why and how farmers dehorn goats). Others in the series include: Life on a Dairy Farm, Life on a Crop Farm, Life on a Sheep Farm, and more. Ages 5+
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