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Friends of the Tauranga City Libraries Inc

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By Angie Belcher

Illustrated by Debbie Tipuna

How many times have you told your child that books are not for drawing in? What if there was one that was designed so that your child can colour in half of the illustrations? That book is The Farmyard Idol.

The farmyard is very noisy so Farmer Fred decides to hold a competition to see which animal has the best voice (think American Idol style). Each animal practises then heads to the performance. The musical layers build on each other as Chicken (peck peck peckity-peck) finds Dog (howooool), who finds Horse (clipity-clop, clipity-clop) and so on. At the performance, three judges critique the animals – Farmer Fred, his wife Betty, and Farmhand Joe. Joe is the typical Simon Cowell judge and it takes something special to impress him.

I really enjoyed this book. It took a couple of read-throughs before I got the animal noises and rhythms in a way that flowed and sounded good to me, but it works if you change them up too. At first I wasn’t sure about having a judge that wasn’t very encouraging but then I remembered real life and I decided that it actually makes the competition more of a competition!

I like that the text has a variety of colours and sizes for emphasis and animal identification. There are also some interesting phrases introduced as ‘sensational sound,’ ‘scintillating solo’ and ‘breathtaking beat’ that aren’t commonplace in picture books but are great for adding to children’s vocabulary.

This has a lot of aspects going on – and in a good way! Call it value for money. Reading-aloud-ability, silly farm animal voices, playing with rhythm and other musical aspects, colouring in, and even some tear-out postcards with feature illustrations from the book.

The book recommends that it best suits 4-9 year olds but I think it’s still a great read-aloud for younger children.

This book was written by Angie Belcher and illustrated by Debbie Tipuna. These two amazing women have collaborated together before and hail from my home town of Te Puke. I grew up with Angie and Debbie as wonderful role models in their community and I love that they are passionate and quirky and use that to their advantage.


Reviewed By Amy Chiles