Molly’s Organic Farm
By Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner
Illustrated by TrinaL. Hunner
Finalist for the 2013 Foreward Magazine Book of the Year Award
Winner of the 2012 Green Book Festival Award (Honorable Mention)
2013 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year Selection (Honorable Mention)
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“So much to explore!” discovers Molly, the lost orange cat in the book Molly’s Organic Farm. Molly wanders onto an organic farm while searching for a place to sleep, but she’s so intrigued by the nuances of farm life—including compost, beneficial insects, and trips to the local farmer’s market—that she stays. The farmers quickly welcome Molly as part of the complex farm community.
Many children will be familiar with the concepts in this book from their own farm or garden experiences, but even if not, they can relate to Molly’s curiosity, as well as her need for comfort and the occasional tasty treat. By integrating details from all the senses into the text and illustrations, the author and illustrator have ensured that even children without direct garden or farm experience will appreciate the subtleties of farm life and become curious to learn more.
Soft, vibrant illustrations, many of which are presented from the cat’s point of view, draw second-graders in and encourage children to go out and peer between rows and under leaves to see what they can find. Further, because Molly’s story takes place over the course of a growing season, the illustrations reflect the changing colors and textures of the seasons and remain dynamic and appealing throughout the story.
The language in Molly’s Organic Farm is gentle and welcoming. In addition to the primary text, simple, rhymed vignettes accompany a small inset on each page, showing details of Molly’s experience. Although the main text may challenge some second grade students reading on their own, slightly more advanced second grade level readers will enjoy it, and the story would serve as a fine read-aloud book.
Like an organic farm, the book manages to pack quite a bit in to a small space. While some of the concepts in the primary text may leave the reader with questions, most of these questions are answered in the thoughtful, detailed back matter. Explanations of new and challenging concepts, as well as lists of other books, websites, and additional information about many of the topics mentioned in the story will help parents and educators build a solid basis for discussion and for explorations of their own.
This book could be a great introduction before a farm tour or a unit on farming, or as a tie-in with a school garden, which have become very popular. Because the emphasis of the story is on organic farming specifically, children will learn safe, healthy ways of producing food. Further, because Molly helps out on the farm in her own way by catching rats, and providing entertainment to the farmers and visitors, children might begin to wonder how they too could help out on a farm.
For more information, visit the author’s website: http://www.naturebooksforkids.com
- Title: Molly’s Organic Farm
- Authors: Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner
- Illustrator: Trina L. Hunner
- Publisher: Dawn Publications
- Reviewer: Lisa Kahn Schnell
- Paperback: 32 pages
- ISBN: 978-1-58469-167-9
- Genre: Nonfiction, nature, science