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Monday, August 5, 2013

Farmer John's Tractor, written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Robyn Belton. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2013. $18.00 ages 2 and up

"That winter,
the rain comes.
It rains and it rains.
It fills up the river
and blocks up the drains.
The riverbanks break.
It's a flood!
Water swirls.
It rushes and gushes.
It spurts and it twirls."

Long live the old trusty tractor, according to this rhyming tale. With all of the wild weather we've been having in southwestern Manitoba this summer, I am sure there are those who would sing the same praises that Sally Sutton offers in her newest book.

A raging rainstorm leaves the road impassible, and a tiny yellow 'bug' is engulfed. Its passengers pour out; with relief they welcome an approaching jeep. Suddenly, that jeep runs into trouble in the deep waters and proves useless to their plight. A tow truck nears and becomes stuck. With panic building and the waters rising, the family in the car is stranded. Wait! Here comes a fire engine. Rocks from a mudslide block its path, and the worry worsens.

Up until this time a refrain has kept readers apprised of Farmer John's tractor:

"Still Farmer John's tractor lies locked in the shed,
                                 rusty yet trusty and orangey red."

Farmer John has been down in the sheepfold, concerned about his animals and working toward keeping them all safe. Only when he is done with that does he notice that there are people in trouble! It doesn't take long for him to get that old tractor in gear and rush to the rescue of those teetering on the roof of their car, awaiting rescue.

Hooray for Farmer John and his old tractor!

Fun to share and filled with 'water'color illustrations that give readers an authentic feel for the setting. The colors are muted, the tone is gentle and each spread is a detailed look at the rising floodwaters.

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