About the Holiday
Celebrated during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, National Farm City Week recognizes the partnership between farms and towns and cities where produce, meat, wool, and other products are prepared, marketed, retailed, and consumed. Ensuring that farming remains an economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable way of life for future generations is also an important aspect of this week-long observance because only through the hard work of farmers and their enterprises—both large and small—that the country’s health and well-being are maintained.
Construction Site: Farming Strong All Year Long
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker | Illustrated AG Ford
The warmer days of spring have arrived and “six tough trucks rise with the sun.” They’re headed for a farm in the distance, where there’s lots of work to do. Before they even get to the farm, they come upon a section of the road where dirt from a “springtime washout” blocks their way. With Bulldozer and Dump Truck’s help, the road is quickly cleared, and the trucks are on their way.
First, the fields must be plowed and Big Tractor knows just what to do. “She churns the soil, rips up weeds— / prepares the ground for planting seeds!” Then “Little Tractor plants the crop / She rolls along as big seeds drop.” But the animals need tending too, and Little Skid Steer is right there to clean up and get the pens ready for the cows and horses, the lambs, chickens, and pigs.
As summer comes, each truck has its job to ensure the crops grow and the animals are well taken care of. But there’s an even bigger job to do, and Excavator, Bulldozer, Skid Steer, Crane Truck, Dump Truck, Cement Mixer, and Flatbed Truck all work together to build a new barn, just in time for the cooler weather of fall.
Now it’s Combine’s turn to shine. “She rolls on hills and through the fields, / harvesting what each row yields.” But she can’t do it alone: “The Tractor pulls grain carts behind. / She rolls with Combine, all aligned.” As they drive side-by-side, Auger, collects and pours the grain into the carts. Then it’s on to the pumpkin patch to gather everyone’s favorite autumn treat.
There may be no crops to plant and pick as winter settles in, but the farm trucks are still busy clearing snow, making repairs, and making sure the animals have warm hay and plenty of food for the long, cold months. Before the “hardworking farming teams” take to their garage bays for a well-deserved sleep, they give thanks for the “friends they have and work they do” and another good year.
Sherri Duskey Rinker’s well-known rhymes and dynamic rhythm carry this story of ten vehicles working together throughout the year to keep a farm from planting season to buttoning up for the winter. Rinker’s inclusion of extra equipment and attachments in addition to the ten vehicles will wow kids while teaching them how one machine is able to handle many types of jobs and how different types of machinery complement each other to do complex tasks. As the story ends and the vehicles give thanks for a good year, children can also join in by adding what they’re thankful for and ways their day was good. The final spread welcomes bedtime with lulling rhythms of “good night” and “sweet dreams.”
AG Ford’s lovely and vibrant illustrations brim with the beauty and always changing weather, atmosphere, and duties of a farm. Ford’s use of varying perspectives gives kids an idea of just how big a farm can be, and his saturated colors show readers the richness of the soil, a sun-drenched summer, and the mellower temperatures of spring and fall. But front and center are his realistic settings that depict how each vehicle works and all the different jobs they do. The machinery’s eager expressions as well as images of the various farm animals will charm kids, and when bedtime comes, Ford’s deep somnolent dusk blue sky and drowsy vehicles will soothe and welcome kids to sleep.
Whether your child loves cars, trucks, and big machinery; anything to do with farming; or just a story well-told, they’ll enthusiastically embrace Construction Site: Farming Strong All Year Long. This is a book that will enjoy “favorite” status at home and in classrooms and be in constant rotation in school and public library collections.
Ages 2 – 4
Chronicle Books, 2022 | ISBN 978-1797213873
Discover more about Sherri Duskey Rinker and her books, book events, and how to order signed books on her website.
To learn more about AG Ford, his books, and his art, visit his website.
Farm City Week Activities
Build a Tractor Jigsaw Puzzle
With this printable jigsaw puzzle, you can color and build a tractor of your own! Just print the Tractor Template, color, cut, and have fun putting it together!
- Printable Tractor Template
- To print garden plot and vegetables, see links in game below.
- Card stock paper, poster board, or cardboard (optional)
- Colored pencils or crayons
- Glue (optional)
- Tape (optional)
- Print the Tractor Template. For a sturdier puzzle, print on card stock or glue the pieces to poster board or cardboard before cutting.
- Color and cut out the pieces
- Put the tractor together
Grow a Vegetable Garden Board Game
With this fun game you and your family and friends can grow gardens inside! Roll the dice to see whose garden will fully ripen first!
- Printable Garden Plot Game Board
- Printable Vegetable Playing Cards: Page 1 | Page 2
- Printable Vegetable Playing Die
- Black or brown crayon (optional)
- Card stock or heavy paper for printing (optional)
Object: The object of the game is for each player to fill their garden rows with vegetables. Depending on the ages of the players, the required winning number of rows to fill and the number of vegetables to “plant” in each row can be adjusted.
- Print one Game Board for each player
- Print one set of Playing Cards for each player (for sturdier playing items, print on card stock)
- Print one Vegetable Playing Die and assemble it (for a sturdier die, print on card stock)
- Cut the vegetables into their individual playing cards
- Color the “dirt” on the Garden Plot with the crayon (optional)
- Choose a player to go first
- The player rolls the die and then “plants” the facing vegetable in a row on the game board
- Play moves to the person on the right
- Players continue rolling the die and “planting” vegetables until each of the number of determined rows have been filled with the determined number of vegetables.
- The first person to “grow” all of their veggies wins!
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