By Cyndie Shearing @CyndieShearing
If you’re looking for engaging new picture books to read to the little ones in your life, consider “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish” from Feeding Minds Press. This delightful and educational story was written to engage young readers and spark curiosity about where their food comes from.
In this “dairy-tale,” a young boy named Chuck wishes for all the ice cream he can eat, prompting his “Dairy Godmother” to show up to grant his wish with a dairy farm, where he gets a firsthand look at all the hard work and care that goes into producing his favorite treat.
Although he does not have a farming background, illustrator Ward Jenkins really did his homework when he was tapped to work on the book, and it shows in the final product.
“Farming and agriculture was something that I experienced at a distance, through car windows, while on the road, traveling between cities,” Jenkins explains. Visiting three dairy farms helped him gain valuable insight as he prepared to illustrate the story, which was written by Viola Butler.
In no particular order, five reasons why you should read this book to the little ones in your life are below.
- The illustrations. “I went about drawing this book as if I was that kid who really wanted to know about everything, and drew it through their eyes,” Jenkins says. His aim was to show the process from point A to B (and even C), clearly and concisely, so there’d be no question about the path from the farm to the grocery store freezer aisle, from milking the cows to putting the milk into storage, to processing it into ice cream.
- Younger kids learn about values such as commitment (chores must be completed before having an ice cream treat) and motivation (the main character concludes ice cream is “extra delicious” because he helped make it).
- Easily digestible bites of information about dairy farming are woven into the story. Examples include cow’s milk is where ice cream begins; great milk for yummy ice cream comes from healthy cows; and farmers, nutritionists and veterinarians make sure cows eat a healthy diet.
- A free companion video is available. Watch a real dairy farmer named Chuck doing his chores and making ice cream.
- It made the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture’s list of “accurate and engaging ag books.”
Cyndie Shearing is director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.