Sunday, February 28, 2010
Runt Farm: Under New Management
The first volume in the Runt Farm series by Amanda Lorenzo is Under New Management. The Brunt family has abandoned their old farm, leaving behind Kitten. He doesn't care, because now he has the entire farm to himself. He goes around, naming different areas, including renaming the farm Runt Farm.
Kitten quickly amasses a collection of new friends, who have also been abandoned, or otherwise need a home. Peep is a duckling, whose varying exclamations of "Peep!" are easily interpreted by Kitten, much like the word "smurf' has many meanings. Cletus and Tooth are two brilliant mice who have run away from a research facility. The unlikely comrades become fast friends, and almost a sort of family.
Their adventures are simple and mischievous. The biggest lesson comes when Kitten sneaks into the barn to smoke cigars, and it catches on fire. But the simplicity of the story is what makes it so appealing. The fact that the characters are animals help engage young children, who don't really need the bells and whistles so commonly found in modern books.
The illustrations are simple black and white drawings, that are full of expression, and would pale considerably if they were to be colored. This old-fashioned style perfectly fits the simplicity of the story.
I tested this book on my class of full-day students, who are ages 4-6. They loved every bit of the story, and looked forward to having it read to them each day. We also read Book 2, Beatrice and Blossom. They would love to hear Book 3, when it comes out!
Stay tuned for an interview with author Amanda Lorenzo.
Keep up with the Runt Farm books on Twitter @runtfarmbooks.
Purchase Under New Management (Runt Farm, Book 1)
I received a copy of this book from the author, for reviewing purposes.