Topics – farm, seasons
As we slip into late fall and leaves become more crunchy than colorful, I shift to a cozier mode. Sleep Tight Farm lovingly describes preparing a farm for this shift. In Eugenie Doyle’s first picture book, she writes about her farm in Vermont and the varied tasks of cutting the last stalks of Brussel sprouts, trimming back raspberry brambles and covering the fields with a blanket of oats and rye. There is a hopefulness in her story in its celebration of the resurgence expected in the spring of old stalks and new shoots that they have cared for and put to sleep for the winter. The sweet parallel between a child’s bedtime and a seasonal bedtime is drawn through the refrain of, “Goodnight, fields . .. Goodnight, chickens.” The specificity of the farm makes the story bright – from tatsoi leaves protected by sheets of white cloth to the planters and cultivators that find their winter home in the shed. Becca Stadtlander’s illustrations are iconically New England in their detail and classic coloring, both of which add to the feel of the story. Finally, I love the author’s note at the end about her exchange with a group of local students who follow the changes in the farm along with her.
Suggested Ages – The text is lyrical with a nice refrain that will attract early grad school readers. Students grades 3-5 will enjoy the details of what happens in the farm in the late fall and perhaps be interested in her work with local students on her farm.