Old MacDonald had Her Farm

By JonArno Lawson

Illustrated by Tina Holdcroft

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Oh the sheer exuberance of the illustrations! So colorful and inventive, they keep pace with the goofy antics of Old MacDonald on Her Farm. Old, Old MacDonald had a farm where animals roamed. New Old MacDonald keeps animals on her farm for sure, but what trots out in this zany story are the vowels A E I O U (and sometimes Y). What a fun way to teach and revise the vowels with second grade level readers.

The first vowel out the door introduces the readers to the inventive farmer MacDonald. How they will enjoy the contraptions she has set up to complete all the tasks that contain the letter A. They will read and reread it to make sure they haven’t missed anything. Indeed, by the time you come to the vowel E you are ready to declare it an energetic and exhausting book.

That seems to be the author’s hidden strategy — to so engage the readers in the words and word pictures that they don’t realize they are being taught the vowels. And not just the vowels, but their sounds too: the long sounds and the short sounds.

Here is an example from the letter O:
“Look now, too, how bold frog hops–
how crows swoop down off old rooftops!”

The animals must surely be the hippest, most pampered in all the animal world. Three goats operate the gears that automatically saw the barn planks. To keep them from starving they have bowls of food attached to their contraption. Second grade readers will love finding all the wacky machines crowding the pages and figuring out what they do.

Its a wonderful read aloud, sing aloud, slow down and look around, read aloud and twist your tongue around the twisters kind of book. A lipogram.

What is a Lipogram: http://wordsmith.org/words/lipogram.html

Activities: http://castlereads.blogspot.com/2012/09/old-macdonald-had-her-farm-by-jonarno.html

  • Old MacDonaldTitle: Old MacDonald Had Her Farm
  • Author: JonArno Lawson
  • Illustrator: Tina Holdcroft
  • Publisher: Annick Press
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-55451-456-4
  • Genre: Picture Book

One comment

  1. The book sounds delightful! I love that MacDonald is female. And that there is playful vowel recognition!

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