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Interactive Farm Fun

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Playbook Farm by Corina Fletcher and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup ($24.00, Nosy Crow, ages 3 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

Playbook Farm is a multi-faceted treat that has engaged my three-year old daughter for hours. It is a combination of a pop-up book and a 3-D play mat that comes in an 8.5” box with an inner flap to store the stand-up animals and farm vehicles. The bottom side of the mat is the book. Children can read about the important work that farm animals do in simple, straight-forward language written by Corina Fletcher.  All the animals on the farm have jobs to do. Can you guess what they are? What do farm cats do? Farms cats keep the mice away and stop them from eating the wheat. What do sheep do? Sheep give us wool to keep us warm.

The sturdy 3-D mat opens up to roughly 24”x32”. There is a path that winds through the farm and takes us through the fields and pastures past the windmill, chicken coop, and more. Along the path is text that explains what we are passing: “Moo, moo, moo!” The cows are ready for morning milking. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whirs the windmill, grinding the grains of corn. The pop-up buildings have movable parts, such as doors and gates that open and windmill blades that turn.

The stand-up animals and vehicles are easy for little fingers to move across the mat. Move the tractor driven by the female farmer across the corn fields. Drive the truck through the farm to pick up supplies. Have the sheep dog guide the sheep and goat into their pen. Set the rooster high on the roof to announce the dawn. This tactile introduction to farm life is a treat.

The illustrations by Britta Teckentrup are delightful and present the images of an idyllic farm that children so enjoy.  Beyond the farm and its environs, there are duck ponds, trees, flowers, insects and various birds that dot the landscape. Details abound! Find the mother cat and her kittens. Count how many chicks are following the hen. What’s hiding near the flour sacks by the windmill? Who’s peeking at the horses through the wheat field? The illustrations alone provide great fun for youngsters who will eagerly look for the cleverly placed details.

Playbook Farm is play and learning stored nicely in a box.

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