CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 21. . . .February 1, 2013
A full 25 years after the publication of Farmer Joe's Hot Day, Scholastic has released this classic story in easy reader format. This book is one of three endearing stories about Farmer Joe, a simple but lovable character who, with the best of intentions, can never quite get things right. The other titles are Farmer Joe Babysits
The problem Farmer Joe has in this story is that he gets too hot while working in the fields each day. He goes to his wife for advice, and she strangely suggests that he wear a jacket. When that doesn't work, she recommends adding a coat, followed the next day by a scarf and mittens. Of course, Farmer Joe becomes so hot now that he can't do any of his farm work. Once more he asks his wife for help, and she now advises him to take off the scarf, mitts, coat and jacket. The next day Farmer Joe is able to complete all his work, and he has learned never to complain about being hot again.
So the next day
Although the plot is simple, it builds steadily to a climax with phrases being repeated and new items being added. This approach makes it easy for children to join in, read along and anticipate. The language is simple but satisfying. Sentences are kept short and broken up so there are only four or five words on each line.
Zimmerman's watercolour illustrations are very helpful for portraying the characters and setting. Many farm animals and aspects of rural life are depicted in a humorous way. Farmer Joe's wife is initially seen cooking, ironing and hanging laundry, but later she is shown fixing a car.
Farmer Joe's Hot Day combines a great story with easy-to-read text and supportive illustrations. These three elements make it an excellent book for emerging readers.
Claire Perrin is an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board in Toronto, ON.
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