________________ CM . . . . Volume IV Number 1 . . . . September 5, 1997

Cover Farmer Joe Baby-Sits.

Nancy Wilcox Richards. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman.
Richmond Hill, ON: Northwinds Press/Scholastic, 1997.
22pp., hardcover, $15.99.
ISBN 0-590-24977-0.

Subject Headings:
Farms-Juvenile fiction.
Babysitting-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten - grade 2 / Ages 5 - 7.
Review by Leslie Millar.

*** /4


When they got back to the old house Farmer Joe decided it was time for Jennifer's nap.
But where was her blanket?
He pulled out books, puzzles and dolls,
Tutus, markers and balls...
but no blanket.
Jennifer found skates, a hoop and a tea set,
crayons and paints and a helmet...
but no blanket.
Oh, no!
image Nancy Wilcox Richards, who resides in Queens County, Nova Scotia, with her husband and two children, brings Farmer Joe back for a third appearance in "Farmer Joe Baby-Sits." The gentle farmer with unorthodox methods has been featured previously in "Farmer Joe's Hot Day" and "Farmer Joe Goes to the City."

      In this instalment, Farmer Joe's job is to baby-sit, something he has never done before. The child, Jennifer, is dropped off with her toys and a list of instructions, one of which is that she must have an afternoon nap. For Jennifer to fall asleep, however, she must have her special blanket, and when it is lost during the pair's tour of the farm, the plot is established. image

      While the narrative is simple and reads aloud nicely, it could benefit from a little more explanation. For example, who is Jennifer, and what is her relationship to Farmer Joe? While readers may suspect that Jennifer is Farmer Joe's granddaughter, the text does not confirm such familial ties. Children might also want to know where Jennifer's mother and Farmer Joe's wife are going and why they would leave a child with a neophyte baby-sitter.

      The details in Zimmerman's delightful watercolours fill in any holes which may be in the text. In keeping with his unconventional ways, Farmer Joe can be seen cutting wheat with a push-mower, planting corn by driving cobs into the ground with a mallet, and milking cows directly into bottles while wearing the bucket on his head. A stout pig assists Farmer Joe in his efforts while two plump groundhogs, who look like stuffed teddy bears, hover in the background making his life miserable. The aerial views of the farm are fun to look at, but, best of all, is Farmer Joe, himself. Pear-shaped and potbellied, he exudes comic sweetness - a loveable good nature spreads across his malleable features with the ease of butter in a frying pan. Young readers will enjoy listening to and looking at this story.


Leslie Millar is a mother and substitute teacher.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364