Eggs from Red Hen Farm: Farm to Table with Mazes and Maps

Holiday House. Mar. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823447824.
Toddler-PreS–This book about the concept of farm-to-table pulls double duty as an introduction to cartography. Readers map their way through the sprawling spreads with Ruby and Ned, first following them on the stone path from the farmhouse to the henhouse. A side panel shows landmarks to look for “past the apple trees, the cows, and the sunflowers.” After counting and packing the eggs, the farmers navigate through town to the open air market. Ned stays behind at their stand, while Ruby makes the deliveries. She travels to the school, the bakery, the grocer, and the café. Children can joyfully trace their fingers over the gamelike spreads of streets and paths to each locale. The final map, when Ruby returns to the farmers’ market, is intentionally devoid of directions or landmarks, challenging readers to route their own way back. The story line directs the focus toward the complementary concepts. The farm-to-table theme originates from the henhouse to locations where the eggs are sold and made into food; Ruby uses the eggs to teach a cooking class at the school; this book points to all of it. Map clarity is aided by Wellington’s cheerful illustrations. Lucid lines and separation of spaces aids the target audience of toddlers and preschoolers. The cast of characters includes nods to representation.
VERDICT Recommended for the seamless introduction of many different concepts in an accessible format.

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