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Zelma’s Farm Review by Lisa Tanner

Written by Zelma Lisa Loseke
Illustrated by Bert Dodson
Zelma’s Farm

Are you looking for a picture book examining love, beauty, and overcoming tragic circumstances through faith? You should give Zelma’s Farm a read. Written by Zelma Lisa Loseke and illustrated by Bert Dodson, this hardcover book contains 32 pages of beautifully illustrated text.

The hardcover binding is well done and holds up to multiple readings. There is a dust jacket on the front, and behind it, the cover features an identical picture. The pages are thick and easy for young hands to turn.

The story opens with a little girl loving life on her family’s farm. She is enthralled by the animals and gardens. But sadly, on the very next page, readers learn that Zelma’s mom moves away from the farm taking Zelma and her brother with her.

Though it opens with a sad part of life that many children face, it does not stay sad for long. The little girl learns to trust God despite moving away from the place she loved, and the people there. Her life is not easy, but she continues to grow in her faith.

When she grows up, she buys a farm and uses it to serve others. She nourishes the animals left in her care. One page says, “People gave her animals that they no longer wanted – cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese, rooster, sheep, horses, goats, birds and fish. And she cared for them.” This nourishing care is emphasized in the rest of the book.

As readers learn about animals, events like tapping the maple trees, and growing plants, there is an element of care throughout. Zelma absolutely loved her farm and the way she was able to use it to minister to others who may be hurting.

Many of the pages offer insight into life on a working farm. Readers will learn interesting facts about chickens, honeybees, and sheep. The illustrations work well with the text, adding to the charm of this book. Instead of a traditional inked drawing, the images in this book are watercolor paintings. It is unique, and really matches the overall tone of this book.

This book is a clever way to teach kids about overcoming events in their past, trusting God, and loving others. It also could be a good addition to a homeschool unit on farming. Though it starts off with parents separating and a child being taken from the home she loves, it does not provide any details on that actual event.

I deeply appreciate how well thought out the opening was. The blurb on the back says that, “A little girl, emotionally damaged…” and I was not sure what to expect. I gave it a read before reading it to my kids, and found it was covered tactfully, in an age-appropriate manner.

This book will remain in our homeschool library and will be read again.

-Product review by Lisa Tanner, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2019