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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter, written by Eugenie Doyle and illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. Chronicle, Raincoast. 2016. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"We shake straw over berry plants to blanket them from winter's frosty bite. Next April and May they'll leaf out green and blossom white. In June they'll give fruit so red and juicy we'll make jam and freeze berries to eat till summer comes again."

Is there ever rest for farmers? After producing crops of 'strawberries, raspberries, vegetables, honey, and hay' over a long growing season, the family is now working hard to put the farm to bed for a long winter's sleep. There is much to do, and everyone lends a helping hand.

As they blanket the strawberries with hay's protective cover, they look toward next year's harvest. The gardens are cleared, the vegetables stored and awaiting winter consumption. The fields are planted and covered to feed the soil. The raspberries are pruned to prevent wind damage, and the brush burned. There is so much to do.

Wood must be cut and stored for winter warmth, and for fueling the fires to boil sap into syrup come spring. The chicken coop is repaired, and then rigged with lighting and heat to ensure eggs for hardy winter breakfasts. There is so much to do.

Beehives are protected from winter winds, and to shelter the bees. The farm stand offers plentiful delights for the upcoming holidays. Farm equipment is stored, warm candles are lit and happy holiday lights are hung, meant to warm the hearts of all who live there. The family says goodnight.

"The farm is ready
for down quilts of snow,
the shh-shh of the wind.
Dad tucks us in.

Good night, farmers,
sleep tight."

The painted images of the farm work being lovingly shared are as calm as the quiet, lovely words.
They leaves readers (and listeners) with a feeling of peace, while also learning much about the farm itself and all that it produces to sustain this family. Take time to have a careful look at the many wonderful details included on every single page. It is worth your while.

An author's note is the perfect ending!

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