Saturday, 28 April 2018

Book Review: The Farmyard Idol by Angie Belcher *NZ Author*

How many times have you told your child that books are not for drawing in? What if there was one that was designed so that your child can colour in half of the illustrations?
That book is The Farmyard Idol.

The farmyard is very noisy so Farmer Fred decides to hold a competition to see which animal has the best voice (think American Idol style). Each animal practices then heads to the performance. The musical layers build on each other as Chicken (peck peck peckity-peck) finds Dog (howooool), who finds Horse (clipity-clop, clipity-clop) and so on. At the performance, three judges critique the animals - Farmer Fred, his wife Betty, and Farmhand Joe. Joe is the typical Simon Cowell judge and it takes something special to impress him.

I really enjoyed this book. It took a couple of read-throughs before I got the animal noises and rhythms in a way that flowed and sounded good to me but it works if you change them up too. At first I wasn't sure about having a judge that wasn't very encouraging but then I remembered real life and I decided that it actually makes the competition more of a competition!
I like that the text has a variety of colours and sizes for emphasis and animal identification. There are also some interesting phrases introduced such as 'sensational sound', 'scintillating solo' and 'breathtaking beat' that aren't commonplace in picture books but are great for adding to children's vocabulary.

This book has a lot of aspects going on - and in a good way! Call it value for money. Read-aloud-ability (it's a thing - parents you hear me), silly farm animal voices, playing with rhythm and other musical aspects, colouring in, and even some tear out postcards with feature illustrations from the book.

The book recommends that it best suits 4-9 year olds but I think it is still a great read aloud for younger children, especially if you 'forget' to tell them they can colour it in. Addison (4) has been really enjoying having the book read to her - her favourite animal noise is the cow and the pig. Once she found out she could colour it in she went straight for the postcards at the back and has cautiously begun to work her way through the pages.

This book was written by Angie Belcher and Illustrated by Debbie Tipuna. These two amazing women have collaborated together before and hail from my hometown of Te Puke. I grew up with Angie and Debbie as wonderful role models in their community and I love that they are passionate and quirky and use that to their advantage.

Angie Belcher promoting The Farmyard Idol

This is a great book to gift, or to add to your collection. Know that you are supporting two local legends when you purchase this book.

Angie gave me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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