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Farmer Duck is one of my favourite children's picture books. It's a kind of Animal Farm for kids, with a poor put-upon duck, who is left to run the farm, while the lazy, fat farmer lies in bed eating chocolates. Farmer Duck eventually bands together with some sympathetic cows, sheep and hens (but with a nod to Orwell, no pigs) and revolution is born. They chase the idle farmer away and live happily ever after in a collective harmony. As with many Waddell books, there is a wonderful rhythm to his writing and a great use of repetition. The simplicity and subtlety of this story will appeal to children between 18 months and 5 years. Small children will love the repeated animal noises, as the animals only communicate throught their baas and moos and quacks, not through human speech. Yet there is enough of a story here to appeal to 4 and 5 years old as well. The illustrations by Helen Oxenbury are as always lively and humorous. The animals are full of character and the portly farmer is a glorious slob. A very welcome addition to a pre-schooler's bookcase.
Quack, moo, baa, cluck this is the tale of a nameless Duck who has the misfortune to be in the employ of a very lazy farmer. A farmer with hairy shoulders and a jelly belly, who is repeatedly featured shirtless throughout the story. Its not pretty and its not necessary either. Loose a star for including the sort of detail thats irrelevant to children and isn't beneficial to the story in any way. The images are rather grey and bleak throughout turning an uplifting story of friendship and co-operation to overthrow a common enemy into something much more dark and grey. The imagery used is in places very aggresive and my youngest found this book too scary for bedtime although she loved to hear it during the day. The pictures are very detiled enabling a younger reader to follow the story without the need for words. The languauge used is repetative and she prompts the reader to add appropriate animal voices at the turn of every page. The critics obviously liked it awarding Farmer Duck the Smarties Book Prize, the British Book Awards Children's Illustrated Book of the Year and it was also hightly Commended The Kate Greenaway Medal. Martin Waddells other childrens masterpieces includes the fabulous Owl Babies. Which is equally dark but with a very happy ending.
As you can probably tell from some of my other reviews, my grandson isn't one to say no to a bedtime story about a duck or two. This one was a book that I spotted while out grabbing some bits and it was only £1.99 so I thought that was a great price for a new children's book all about a duck. This story is all about Farmer Duck and how he is left to do all the work on the farm while the fat lazy farmer lays in bed all day eating chocolates. He shouts out the window every few minutes "How goes the work?" and the duck always replies "Quack!" which is a nice touch because you can do a duck noise and it makes the story funny for the little listener. At the end of the story, the farmer is chased away by the other animals who are fed up of the duck being bullied. There's a moral in there somewhere about bullying I'm quite sure but it is a purely fictional way of putting it I think! I sat there afterwards thinking "but surely the deeds are in the fat farmer's name?" then realised I needed to stop and realise that this is a children's book and it makes as much sense as it needs to for a 4yr old to appreciate. The colourful pictures throughout make this a top notch book for a small child to sit and look at while you read the short dialogue that runs through this book. My grandson really enjoyed this and think it's a book that we'll read quite a few times in the future.
Ahhh, Farmer Duck, the poor duck who is worked to the bone by the lazy old Farmer. This story is one of revenge! The duck works all day for the farmer who stays in bed and eats chocolate (which one would you rather be?) he works so hard and becomes so tired that his friends (the sheep, the cow and the hens) decide to help him out. They hatch a plan and set about getting rid of the farmer that night. The farmer runs away and leaves the farm in the trusted hands of the animals. This book has won prizes for its superb content, Smarties book prize, British Books awards Childrens Illustrated Book of the Year and Highly Commended for teh Kate Greenaway medal. So overall an extremely popular book. I guess the moral of the story is to stick by your friends and help them out when you can, a good one for young children to adhere to. The pictures are great and the written language will develop the inquisitive childs vocabulary. My son loves this book, must have read it a thousand times already - he s only 20 months old!
Farmer Duck A favourite book of mine, and one which I have read on many occasions to young children. Published in 1991,the story focuses on the hero of the story, the duck, and a lazy farmer, and on how the other animals on the farm help duck when he is too tired to keep doing all of the work. **The story and illustrations** The story starts by introducing us to a duck who lives with a very lazy farmer, and while the farer stays in bed all day, the duck does all of the work. Indeed, the very first double spread illustration shows a very tired looking duck carrying a tray laden with food to the farmer who is lying in be eating chocolates and reading the newspaper. The duck looks after the cows, the sheep and the hens, and whatever job the duck does, all the farmer shouts is "How goes the work?" and each time, the duck answers "Quack!". Children very quickly realize that there is repetition going on and whenever the farmer speaks to the duck, they "Quack!" The illustrations show the duck doing various jobs around the farm. The one which evokes the most sympathy for the plight of the duck is the picture where the duck is walking the cow back to the farm. The poor duck is leading the cow and looks really exhausted and there is the farmer, looking out of his bedroom window, and shouting at the duck. We are beginning to get the idea that he is a thoroughly unpleasant man. The farmer gets fatter and fatter and the duck gets more and more fed up. There are several pages where we see the duck at various tasks, with the only text near each picture being the farmer asking the duck how his work goes and the duck answering in the usual way. Eventually,the duck gets tired and weeps and the animals all rally round to support him. They hold a meeting with the only sounds being "Moo! Baa! Cluck!" Great way for children to learn or consolidate their knowledge of animal sounds. Anyway, based on these animal sounds, a plan is formulated and before dawn, the animals creep into the farmer's house, and squeeze under his bed. They rock the bed till the farmer falls out of bed. He gets such a shock when he sees all of the animals that he runs away with the animals chasing after him. When the duck wakes up, he expects the farmer to shout at him, but he hears not a sound until he hears the noises of the other animals. The tell him what has happened and the animals all work together to look after their farm, and the farmer is never seen again. Good- a happy ending, a real feel good story. **Other bits of information** First published 1991,re published 1995. ISBN 0-7445-366-X **Books by the same author** Owl Babies Let's Go Home Little Bear Can't You Sleep Little Bear? Shooting Star Tom Rabbit Hi, Harry! He has written lots more books- check out www.walkerbooks.co.uk for information on the author and some of the books he has written **What I think of it** I would recommend this book for younger children, and have read it on many occasions to Little Miss and children up to about 7 years old. The illustrations perfectly complement the text, and there is just the right amount detail in the pictures to allow them to tell their own story. Once they have heard the story, children are able to "read" this story themselves, using the pictures and the simple text- they almost certainly read the animal sounds every time and this lets them start to understand speech. The expressions on the animals face also amuse and appeal to children, and the duck always evokes sympathy, and a cheer when he finally gets the better of the lazy farmer. Children don't find it surprising that the animals are walking on two feet or have the ability to storm the house and till the land- they accept it as a norm in life. Lovely bed time reading where the good guys win the day and friendship ensures that there is no one unhappy or doing more than their fair share of work. Thanks for reading. Daniela xx
Why do we work? If there were no driving force would we still work? If a slave’s master vanished would that slave continue to labour? These and many more are examples of questions that may spring into your mine if you read your child, “Farmer Duck”. This story is written by Martin Waddell and the book illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. ISBN 0-7445-3660-x Before I tell you the story, (believe me that won’t take long) let me quote from the back cover: Winner of the Smarties Book Prize British Books Award Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year Highly Commended for the Kate Greenway Medal “Exceptional…a book to linger over. Martin Waddell’s text is simple and spare but it carries a powerful message.” Now I’m sorry but I feel that is getting just a tad carried away! My youngest foster child (a young five) loves this, her latest book and enjoys joining in the animal sounds with gusto. Now let’s meet the characters: Duck our hero Farmer our villain Cow, sheep and hens, supporting roles! To cut a short story even shorter, the farmer is fat and lazy and spends all day in bed. The duck does all the work on the farm till his friends (see supporting roles) get fed up on duck’s behalf. They turf the farmer out of his bed and chase him of the farm never to be seen again. Okay but does it end with the animals all having a party together to celebrate? No they continue running the farm, true now they are having fun at the same time. It does however bring me to the title of this op as I consider why they continue to work so hard. Do they intend at a later date to send each other off to market? Are they going to milk the cow just for fun? I’m not sure but if you have a little child read this with them and see what you think. The illustrations are beautiful, the poor oppressed duck 217;s face when it all gets too much, or the cow’s face as it finally chases the farmer away is delightful. As for the picture of the farmer lazing in bed well, I try to avert my eyes at that point! The story as you see is simple but it does delight children and that is all it sets out to do.The pictures are equally lovely and if your little one enjoys this as much as mine does it will be money well spent. Please note, I have answered the questions below from my little ones point of view!
If you've never read this book before, you should! You might then understand the title of this review! Another classic from the pen of Martin Waddell, who has written many great children's books. This time, the talents of Helen Oxenbury have been deployed to take care of the illustrations, without which, the book would be lost on bookshop's shelves. However, the illustrations truly make the book a classic. I have used this book, as well as the Big Book version in many Literacy Hours, with ages from Year 2 to 4. We have looked at specch marks and other punctuation, and it has helped my children read with expression. Different accents can be used for the different animals in the story, and a play could easily be developed as a result. The children love the repetitive nauture of the language in the book and gives poorer readers more confidence in their abilities.
farmer duck is one of those delightful childrens books that have a repetitive text throughout. This enhances the storyline and goes down well with the younger reader. after one reading you will find youngsters joining in with the 'how goes the work' at every oppurtunity. the theme of the story appeals to young children - a lazy human being who illtreats animals. all does end well though - a vital ingredient in all childrens books - the animals take over and they all live happily ever after.
A poor duck is forced to work all day long for a lazy farmer - but a plan is in the making to punish the farmer.