It's Milking Time

by Phyllis Alsdurf, Illustrations by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Random House Books for Young Readers, .
Picture Book, 40 pages.
ISBN: 0375869115
Ages 5 and up

It's Milking Time by Phyllis Alsdurf

Since the majority of children in the United States live in an urban setting, few of them have any idea how their everyday food comes to them on a regular basis. If asked, the reply would be "from the grocery store," or more specifically "from the milk section" or the "produce aisle." In this case, the adult in charge has a window of opportunity wide open for a story about one little girl who plays a big part in getting milk to the store for the nation's families.

This story tells more than how the milk arrived in the dairy case at the grocery store. It also illustrates the values of responsibility: to a schedule, to animals and most especially to a parent who runs the dairy farm. It is an example of the strong values that have shaped our nation. The routine of life on a dairy farm, bringing in the cows, milking them, feeding them, attaching milking machines, changing the pail when it's full, emptying the contents into the milk can, is a daily morning and evening job with no days off. Young listeners will also enjoy the story of a little girl doing her share of the work alongside her dad. The child's work is clearly respected, and the relationship between father and child is strong and loving.

Illustrators Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher fill the pages with soft, gentle portraits of the huge, docile and dependable beasts on which we all count on to produce an important part of our diet. Their illustrations of early morning and evening evoke a world far from the noisy traffic-laden world in which most children live. These two illustrators have captured this world with scenes that are sure to bring a child into a deeper knowledge of the work that lies behind the dairy case at the supermarket.

--Sarah Reaves White

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