Children love learning about farm animals found in picture books about farm life. Even though they don’t live on farms and get to experience farm life, children are particularly fond of exploring topics on animals and their characteristics. Cows, pigs, chickens are popular characters in picture books, which captivate the young readers and get them acquainted with names of the farm animals, and their individual characteristics!
1. There was an old lady who swallowed a fly (Illustrated by Pam Adams)
This classic is one of the popular favourites with children. The text has a simple tune to sing along with, and it is catchy for any child to follow. It is about an old lady who starts eating farm animals (like fly,spider,bird, cat, dog…) in hope that the animal she swallowed will catch the previous animal. There is a simple rhyme to the text, and and it is a fun, repetitive book. The illustrations are colourful and visually appealing to the readers. Children love memorizing the sequence of the animals in the story. It forms almost like a food chain by the end of the story! This is a great story to teach naming of farm animals and even comparison of sizes among the farm animal species.
2. Who Sank The Boat? (Pamela Allen)
This is my personal favourite of Pamela Allen’s books. This book is a perfect combination of wit, humor, anticipation and surprise, a homerun with children of all ages. The story is about five friends; cow, a donkey, sheep, pig and a small mouse who decided to get into the boat for a row. The reader is invited to make a guess who will be the animal to sink the boat, as each farm animal gets into the boat one by one. The unexpected twist plays with the children’s expectations based on the logical reasoning of the weight and size of the farm animals. The hilarious ending makes for a wonderful read for both parents and children.
3. Mr Archimedes’ Bath (Pamela Allen)
This is another classic from Pamela Allen. It is a humorous account of Mr Archimedes taking a bath with his three animal friends and the bath tub keeps overflowing with water. The mess is so unpleasant that he wants to find out who the culprit is. He used a measure and asks each animal to get out of the bath and finally discovers who it is. This is a scientific discovery for both the characters and the reader! The comical moments, the striking illustrations and the use of animal characters in the story makes it an interesting read!
4. Rooster’s Off To See The World (Eric Carle)
The rooster wakes up one morning and decides he wants to travel the world. He meets many farm animals along the way like the cat, frogs, turtles, and invites them to join him on his adventure. The story is set in beautiful colourful, collage illustrations and beguiling, simple text. Eric Carle cleverly embeds the Math lesson of counting up and counting down in this exciting story. Eric Clarle wrote this book especially for children who has difficulty learning about numbers, and the symbolic stickers positioned at the side of the text helps children visualise numbers in its quantitative form.
5. The Little Red Hen
In this old folk tale, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from the farm animals to plant and harvest the wheat. This ever-charming book teaches children lessons on work ethics like hard work or cooperation and character traits like helpfulness. It is also a cautionary tale about reaping what we sow. There are many renditions of this well-loved story that have sustained its popularity. It has a simple, yet powerful message for all to learn!
6. Chinese books on farm animals
I found this series of Chinese readers on farm animals locally at Popular Bookstore. The illustrations are digitally done, with bright colours and clear drawings. I like it that the text is simple with easy to read Chinese characters, and each story features a farm animal with its physical characteristics, its abilities and its personality. The portrayal of these characters makes them very endearing and loveable. My girl loves this series so much that she could recite some simple lines after the fourth round of reading them! This is a great series to start your child on naming animals and talking about them in Chinese.
We will be adding more picture books on farm animals, with focus on the sounds they make!
Look out for our next post on teaching animal names as a follow-up activity after the introduction of farm animals through these books!