Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Rock-a-Bye Farm

Title: Rock-a-Bye Farm
Author: Diane Johnston Hamm
Illustrator: Alexi Natchev (website)
Publisher: Little Simon
Year: 2008
ISBN: 978-1416939213
Format: Board Book
Pages: 32
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler
Kid Love Factor: 3/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 3/5
Rock-a-Bye Farm starts off very normally with:

It’s bedtime.
The farmer rocks his baby.
When the baby goes to sleep...

Once the human baby goes to sleep, things get rapidly sillier:
The farmer rocks his dog.

And on the next page:
When the dog is snoring loudly...

Once the dog is asleep, he rocks his hens.  Once the hens are asleep, he rocks his sheep.  Et cetera.  The brightly coloured illustrations get progressively more humorous along with the text.  The farmer uses an apron to rock the hens.  He presses a hay bale above his head to rock the sheep.  He uses a door balanced on a wooden barrel to rock his cow and a hammock to rock his horse.  Once everyone is finally asleep, the farmer rocks himself.  Good night!

We’ve been using Rock-a-Bye Farm to both reinforce Boo’s animal sounds and to teach the concepts of loud (highly successful) and quiet (not so much).  On one spread of pages, when the farmer is rocking the cow, we yell “MOO!!”  On the next spread, when the cow is asleep, we (and by ‘we’, I mean me) whisper “moo”.  Rinse and repeat for the other animals.  Let’s just say Boo’s starting to get it, but it’s a work in progress.

I don’t think this will ever become one of Boo’s favourite books, but he’s intrigued enough to want to read it about once a day right now.  And while it’s unlikely to become one of my favourites either, it’s not one I loath to see approaching.

Autism Spectrum Bonus: As I said, we’ve been using Rock-a-Bye Farm to reinforce animal imitation and loud/quiet voices.  Older kids (i.e. ones with a better grasp of basic physics than Boo) may enjoy the visual humour of the farmer having to use elaborate methods to rock his various animals to sleep.  For those with fairly rigid bedtime routines, Rock-a-Bye Farm could be a good addition to story time, if the 4087th rendition of Goodnight Moon is starting to wear you down.


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