Casey and Friends Books

      

When we head out of the suburbs and into the country, one of my son’s favorite things is to observe all the “big machines” out in the fields of the many farms. We do our share of fruit picking at local farms and some small vegetable growing at home, so he is very interested in farming basics.   

My knowledge of farming machinery has slightly increased through our many picture books, but I don’t know much more beyond tractors and combines, and certainly don’t know the entire life cycle of farming crops. The goal of the new Casey and Friends farming-themed books is to help children ages 4-8 make the connection with the farm equipment they see in the fields and the food on their table. These books, from author Holly Dufek, have greatly increased our entire family’s ability to identify farming machinery and understand exactly how farmers grow many of the fruits and vegetables  we enjoy.   

The Casey and Friends series consists of four hardcover books: “Planters and Cultivators,” “A Year on the Farm,” “Big Tractors” and “Combines.” There is also a fifth book that is more of a fictional story, “Casey’s Bright Red Christmas,” which mixes some farming education with the familiar characters from the nonfiction series.  

The books are written for early elementary-aged children and provide a great educational background on how food is grown for people and animals. Each book contains lots of colorful pages filled with narrative, sidebar fun facts and a glossary to review terms. Pictures of real farming equipment are mixed with cartoon characters that lead the reader through the specific machines and how they work as a team to get the job done.

We enjoyed reading all the books, but a definite favorite was “Planters and Cultivators.”  My son was listening intensely as I read the story that steps through the process of prepping farm land and planting seeds. Since we had just planted our own garden, he was very interested to see how the process works on a larger scale. We both enjoyed the characters with their cute names (Tammi the Tiller, Evan the Early Riser Planter and Peter the Patriot Sprayer), which helped put the book on an age-appropriate level while providing lots of information.  

Our next favorite was “A Year on the Farm,” which explains the entire modern farming process, complete with lots of pictures of the big machines. “Big Tractors” and “Combines” were favorites for flipping through, as they have a plethora of pictures of all the big machines kids love. The combines were especially fun to read about since my son has known that word since he was 18-months-old, thanks to the Disney movie “Cars” and the scary combine named Frank.  This book helped to connect the dots and educate him on exactly what Frank does on the farm!

Author Holly Dufek has a Master’s Degree in Education and experience writing for curriculum development publishers. Her style allows children to have fun while learning a lot of information about farming. Illustrator Paul Nunn has worked for numerous popular children’s companies (Disney and Warner Brothers, to name a few) and does a terrific job bringing Dufek’s characters to life and complimenting the narrative. Octane Press, the publisher of this series, is known for award-winning tractor books, completing a perfect team to provide an educational farming series to elementary-aged children.

While I wouldn’t have searched out these books, they are a great addition to our library and certainly taught my son some good lessons. He is more educated about how things grow and how we get our food, and is definitely more interested in all the farms as we drive past or visit!

Casey and Friends Farm Series

Octane Press

Available at: Amazon.com and other booksellers

$14.99/Hardcover book.  Can be purchased as a set of 4 as well for $40

Easy to Read

4

Quality of Illustrations

5

Appealed to both boys and girls

4

Kept my child(ren)’s interest

3

I would purchase this for my family

No

I would purchase this as a gift

Maybe

I found information in this book helpful

Yes

Overall rating

4

All ratings on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being highest.

Meet the Reviewer!

Christy Petrak is a systems engineer currently taking a leave of absence to raise her two children, Thomas (5) and Eliza (2). She enjoys spending time with her family, swimming and baking/decorating cupcakes.

About WF Staff

Washington FAMILY Staff

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