Grandpa’s Tractor


Some books have that magic dust that whisks you out of your own reality and into another one. Grandpa’s Tractor, by author-illustrator Michael Garland, is just that type of book.

In Grandpa’s Tractor,old Grandpa Joe takes his grandson Timmy to see what is left of the family farm. They ride past dozens of subdivision homes until they arrive at an old broken down farmhouse. They stroll through overgrown brush and trees as Grandpa tells Timmy what farm life was like when he was a boy.

This lovely book has a wonderful dual setting, with overcrowded suburbia behind Timmy and Grandpa Joe, and rich, open farmland spread out before them.

The characters of nostalgic Grandpa Joe and precocious Timmy are realistic and well-formed. The text is brief and to the point, with just enough wistfulness in Grandpa Joe’s dialog to have readers dreaming of peaceful, uncomplicated farm living…or, to coin a former US President’s phrase, “A kinder, gentler nation.”

I like this book because it takes something as simple and forgettable as an old rusty tractor and whisks readers (and little Timmy) back to a time when dairy farmers were the backbone of America. I also like how very generous Garland is with his illustrations, offering readers a peaceful look at grazing cattle, wide open fields of green, acres of quiet snow on the isolated farm in winter, and page after page of purplish-pink sunsets that reminds readers of the perfect end to a work-filled day.

I also like how I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. I couldn’t help but ask myself, just what would little Timmy do with the information Grandpa Joe shared with him? Would he quickly forget; would he allow the words to go in one ear and out the other (as old folks are prone to say); or would he pass what he learned on to his own children one day?

For a bittersweet look at life from yesterday, add Grandpa’s Tractor to your child’s personal library.

Best wishes and happy reading,

Rita Lorraine

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