Monday, July 2, 2012
Nonfiction Monday: It's Milking Time by Phyllis Alsdurf, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Alsdurf draws on her own childhood experiences to take readers and listeners on a gentle stroll through her memories of helping to milk the cows. Readers see the cows coming to the barns, being fed, milking machines, and what happens to the milk afterwards.
This is a very simple picture book, with sweet, peaceful language. Most of the facts are woven into the story - there's not description of how a milking machine works, for example, but we see how it's cleaned and attached to the cows.
Johnson and Fancher's illustrations are, as always, warm and glowing. You can see the warmth and love between father and daughter, the peaceful cows, and the beauty of the farm in these paintings.
This is a perfect read-aloud for storytime. It includes a few new vocabulary words (stanchion, suction, trudge) and enough information about the milking process for kids to get interested and for parents to seek out longer nonfiction books on milking and other farm processes. I'm assuming from the author's note that the story is set in her childhood, so some of the processes may have changed a little.
Verdict: This is the kind of easy nonfiction I look for to read aloud in storytime. Beautifully written, with facts woven into the story and a few vocabulary words to practice saying aloud. I also look for farming books and frequently have trouble finding anything for our quasi-rural community, but this is perfect. Highly recommended.