Cover image for Once upon a farm
Once upon a farm
Bradby, Marie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Orchard Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
26 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Illustrations and simple rhyming text recall life on a family farm.
Reading Level:
AD 470 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.6 0.5 58478.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Told in poetic detail and with Ted Rand's exquisite watercolors, "Once Upon a Farm" portrays the toil and triumph of farm life.

With barns and bales, fences and flowers, chores and churns, we weather the seasons along with the young narrator. Told from a child's perspective, the story follows a family working together to make a life on the land they hold so dear. Resonating with rural truths, this family's toil and triumph in our country's heartland will strike a chord with readers everywhere. "Once Upon a Farm" is a place we can all recognize.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

With the gentle cadence befitting a simpler time, Bradby (More Than Anything Else) harvests a bounty of bucolic imagery for this poetic look at a family farm. A boy relates the challenges, never-ending work and sweet rewards that come with working the land. On each spread, minimalist stanzas ("A plow some grain pray for rain. A sow a shed may all be fed") precede a more personal statement ("Mama cooks the corn cakes, Daddy says the prayer. Sorghum, ham, and jelly it's been a good year"). By book's end, the boy sadly shares the information that encroaching suburban sprawl and development mean the end of his farm home and way of life. Throughout, Rand (Sailing Home) alternates between sunny full-page watercolor portraits showing the boy and his family, whom he depicts as African-Americans, and smaller airy vignettes providing a good sense of the comfortable rhythms of the proceedings. His parting illustration of a lone bulldozer razing tall trees brings home Brady's message in a quietly dramatic style. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A beautiful story about a vanishing way of life. Warmth and humor fill the pages as a farm boy recalls, in verse, many family-shared moments-stargazing, eating Mama's ice cream, and jumping the fence to escape a butting goat. He also remembers the hard but satisfying work of building a new home, mucking out the barn, and harvesting a big crop. Ultimately, he shares his sadness when the city grows closer to his home and the bulldozer comes. "A beetle/a fly/a cow gone dry./A rabbit/a farm/they're all gone," and memories then replace them. The first six lines of each stanza are short and quick, and are followed by three longer, slower, more personal lines. The economy of words efficiently paints the picture of the hard work, "A stump/a rock/pull till you drop"; or country pleasures, "A dove/a ring/wake up and sing." These descriptive phrases appeal to all the senses. Equally as strong are the watercolor illustrations, often with humorous touches, that capture the memories and emotions in large double-spread paintings and small vignettes. The wide expanse of sky and field contrast with later pictures of the encroaching urbanization. The juxtaposed illustrations of traffic and buildings with a quiet stream dappled with sunlight are particularly effective. Strong verbally and visually, this book is definitely worthy of purchase.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.