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Monday, August 8, 2016

On The Farm, At The Market. Written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2016. $19.50 ages 4 and up

"Over at the Amazing Cheese Dairy Farm, Isaac is training his new worker, Rachael. He hands her a clipboard. "These are the directions for making cheese," he tells her. "Remember to put a check mark after you finish each step. And very important - don't miss any steps."

It's market season! Lucky we are to be able to visit local farmer's markets to buy luscious vegetables, grass-fed meat, raw honey, and other lovely baking, etc.

In this book, children learn what happens ahead of those farmers being able to bring their wares to market. Three different farmers share their experiences as they get ready to set up the following morning.

Leo owns a vegetable farm and is busy showing his workers which ones to pick first. They will then be ready for washing, and to be packed later onto trucks. Others will be picked just prior to departure for the market in the morning. They are long busy days for Leo and his team. Isaac, at the cheese dairy farm is showing Rachael how to make cheese. Given instructions, Rachael is ready to follow them to the letter, checking off each step in the process. Other workers are making sure that the right cheeses get packed for the morning trek to the market. Gary grows mushrooms in a room where the air is kept cool and misty. Readers learn just exactly how mushrooms are grown and prepared for sale.

On Sunday mornings, the sellers prepare their market space and wait for customers. Eager buyers come from near and far, all delighted to reap the benefits of the hard work that has been done to bring so much goodness. There are long lines of people who listen to music, visit, and fill their carts, bags, backpacks with their purchases.

And then - it's time to clean up the space and finish the day at the Busy Bee where Amy, the owner, has created 'Amy's special Market Pie'. It's a real treat!

Brian Karas uses gouache, acrylic and pencil to share images of the diverse group of people that make the market a successful venture. It is a spirited community shown in lovely double page spreads and assorted spot pictures to give readers a feel for the work and camaraderie so much enjoyed. His author's note summarizes the work done to provide us with such bounty. Bravo to our local farmers!

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