We live in the country on a country road. In Texas it’s called a Farm to Market Road. FM. It’s a long and windy road that begins in the town and follows the river out of town for a long long way. There aren’t a lot of houses on our road. Or much traffic. There is lots of pasture land. You might see sheep and cows and horses and goats and emus. You might see some deer or an armadillo or a road runner running by. There are even dinosaurs!!!
It’s a fine, fine road to live on.
We have a book about a country road and all that goes on on that road.
Country Road ABC
An Illustrated Journey Through America’s Farmland
by Arthur Geisert
published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children in 2010
suitable for K and up
Theme — alphabet, farming
It begins —
is for ammonia fertilizer
Ammonia fertilizer?! Yes, that’s right. Ammonia fertilizer. Ammonia fertilizer is well known these days as a bomb maker. It happens to be at the center of the big explosion that wiped out part of the town of West, Texas last year. But it also happens to be an important farm tool that farmers use to grow better fields of produce.
This is kind of an unusual ABC book. It is a fabulous ABC book! You not only learn your ABCs, you also learn all about farming. Like fertilizer, and D is for disking, E is for erosion, G is for grinding feed, I is for inoculate! And my favorite — K is for kick!! As in the cow kicking the farmer!
The illustrations are D is for detailed and M is for mesmerizing. Mr. Geisert illustrates all his books with hand colored etchings. A tedious process, I think. This long country road starts in the city and moves out to the countryside where the farmlands begin. You get a very good picture of life on the farm and in a small town. (like Glen Rose, Texas!)
At the end of the book is a farm glossary that gives you further explanations for all the alphabet words used in the text. There is also a big thank-you list to all the owners of the sites and farms that you get to visit in the book. It’s all REAL!
After reading this book, you might want to do an ABC story of your own town. Is your town a farming community or a big city? Or something in between. What different things do you see in the city and the country?
This book would go very nicely with any farm unit that a class may be doing.
TeachingBooks.net has a nice little video interview with Mr Geisert in which he talks about his etching process and about some of his books. You can find it HERE.
And another interview in which he talks about the making of Country Road ABC.
Now it’s time to move on down the road to Ms Susanna Hill’s blog to view the list of Perfect Picture Books that appears on her doorstep every Friday!
I like this book very much. Thank-you. (And I have always wanted to see those dinosaurs!)
This is an incredible book! I have now become a big Geisert fan! Those dinosaurs are just standing around waiting for you!
Fairly exotic wildlife there Rhythm! Would love to see TX one day.
Well, come on down!! All kinds of exotics in my neighborhood!
And a wonderful good morning to you. How’s life up in your neck of the woods? Everything fine and dandy, I hope. Here, things are fine, too. It’s overcast, but as the forecast says we’ll have a chance of rain, we really don’t mind. Quite the contrary. Just now Sally is on a walk with my wife, and Chiquita is here on our back porch. On the one had, with her short legs and at age 14, she doesn’t like walking that much any more, even if sometimes she can run for short distances like she was 10 years younger. But, on the other hand, she’s hurting some. A week ago, when I let them out of their kennel in the morning, Sally was so eager to get out that she simply trampled over poor little Chiquita – who herself was eager to get out. Well, a 94-pound dog running roughshod over an 18-pound one: you can imagine the results. We took her to the vet the next morning, and luckily nothing was broken. She’s still on an anti-inflammatory and pain-killing medication, though, but she’s doing much better. Limping a lot less pronouncedly, and also way more infrequently.
That’s a nice book you reviewed just now. It might even be interesting for a “big child” like me. 😉 And the author hand-illustrates evry single book?! What a feat! That reminds me of my first grade at school. Our teacher at that time made our writing-/reading book herself. She wrote, hand-drew and hand-coloured the books for a whole class of more than 20 students! Every single book – no printing at all.
So you live on a country road, too. So do we. At least, Lower Crabapple beyond our place is one. The other one – we live a corner just at the edge of city limits – is residential. But when you go out – and I like to ride my bicycle there – on Lower Crabapple, that takes you about 15 miles into the Hill Country north of Fredericksburg. With fantastic views. And little traffic. Btw, the description of your rode looks intriguing for bicycling, too. Maybe I need to come up and try that out.
Well, that’s half a novel I’ve just written. 😉 I think I’ll have my breakfast now.
Have a great day, and say hell to your Mom person for me,
P.S.: Sally [she’s back now] adds her “woof, woof” and little Chiquita her “yip, yip”.
Poor Chiquita! I can relate! I am now living with a Dogzilla who has no sense of personal space. She runs all over me. But at least I’m not a tiny thing! Sounds like you had an incredible 1st grade teacher! Did you learn how to make books yourself? It’s a fascinating craft! We get LOTS of bikers here! The pedal kind and the motor kind. They seem to like our hills. We have a big bike event here in Glen Rose in the fall that brings in thousands of them. They ride past our house and we get to wave at them. You should check it out if you like biking! http://www.paluxypedal.com/
Thx for the link. Maybe I’ll make it up to there for the bike event some day.
Rhythm, it sounds like you live in an area that allows you to roam wild and free 🙂 And hopefully—breathe fresh air! This is definitely a different take on the typical “ABC” books, but perfect to learn more about the running of farms. Thanks for giving me that “something new” to learn today! 🙂
Plenty of fresh air, but no roaming wild and free for me! This is quite a unique alphabet book. It is so much more!
There’s a lot for a city dog like me to learn in that book, R. I wonder if ammonia fertilizer is something like goose poop…. Hmmmm….
Love and licks,
Yes, there’s even a lot for a country dog to learn! But I wouldn’t go eating any of that fertilizer! You might explode! Stick with the goose poop! Yumm!
To live out in the country with not much street noise is heaven to me. As a child I loved visiting an uncle’s farm. Enjoyed the Country Road alphabet book. You stirred up many good memories.
Farm memories are good ones, I would imagine. I don’t live on a real farm, just out in the country with trees and rocks and the river, but it sure is a good life! I think that you would like this book.
A Geisert book for me, a Geisert book for me, hi-ho-the-derrio, a Geisert book for me! Thank you!!!
I’m thinking that you may have done a post about one of his books? And that got me intrigued. His work is quite fantastical!!!
That I could introduce and excite you enough to find his other books makes me VERY happy!
The books looks lovely AND I learned what FM means in a Texas road. We lived an hour north of Houston for two years and I never knew what it meant!
haha! It is one of those big Texas mysteries I think!
I reckon you and Dogzilla love your country road. This is a cool book for urban kids to understand rural areas better!
Yes indeed! On both counts!
I was expecting John Denver to get a look in with that title! And how did the emus get there? We always get a giggle that Americans say ee-moo instead of ee-myoo. Cracks us up every time! At least the climate is right for them though. Mad Martha visited a zoo in Frankfurt, Germany once, in the winter, and was slightly disconcerted to see two kangaroos freezing their tails off. She wondered what they thought of the whole business of living in a climate totally unlike that of their native habitat. Nice dinosaurs too.
I did consider inviting Mr Denver, but the Mom Person said she was already having a hard time getting the tune out of her head. Although it’s not a bad tune. I hear that emu word all sorts of ways. We used to have a bunch of them around here, but not so many these days. Back before my time, I think, emu ranching was a big business. Then it crashed or something and people started turning them loose. I think that they seem to survive in our environs pretty well!
They’d certainly be fun to chase…
Hmmmmm. I don’t know. They have awfully big feet! With claws. Like dinosaurs.
This book looks wonderful, Rhythm! I love the idea of a farm to market road – it sounds so homey and old fashioned 🙂 And it sounds like you live on a beautiful country road. I do too, although mine is very different, being on Blueberry Hill. We wouldn’t see armadillos, but we might see black bears 🙂 Thanks for sharing this book so we can all learn about farming! 🙂 Oh, and love your idea of making your own town alphabet book!
Susanna, I just have to ask: did you find your freedom?…on Blueberry Hill, that is? (Sorry…could NOT resist! hehehe)
It’s fun to learn about where other folks live. Homes can be so very different!
It sounds great where you live, Rhythm. Learning about farming in an ABC book is genius!
I have a very fine home Ms Johnson! I love it here at the 7 Acre Wood. And that Mr Geisert is a genius for sure!
Yes indeed. Dinosaurs.
I live on a country road, but no armadillos here. Lots of coltsfoot (that’s a flower, not a baby horse’s hoof) and tractors. Looks like a fun book.
Ah, you are missing out on some interesting excavations with no armadillos. I’m not familiar with a flower called coltsfoot. We have horse mint here. It smells nice.
Great book choice! 😀 We live on a road that 90% of the people around here don’t know of. It’s in the middle of a woods. 🙂
Oh, that sounds really nice. I like the woods.
You have dinosaurs?? Cool!
Yes, dinosaurs everywhere. Glen Rose and the Paluxy River are quite famous because many years ago dinosaur tracks were discovered in the riverbed.
We have Farm to Markets too in Montana! But no dinosaurs- that’s awesome!
Wow, love those dinosaurs! Now you have been thinking again about what other useful ABC books there are just waiting to be written!