Sara Bell: Life on the Farm
by RP Wood
Gotham Books

"For Sara Bell, farm life was the best
She could not imagine being happier
Whenever she wanted she could rest
And friends could always play with her"

This children’s book describes the life of a farm duck named Sara Bell. Sara Bell and her sisters venture all around the barnyard and make friends with every other animal on the farm. Goats in the pastures, horses in their stalls, and cows in the barn help make up the cast of characters in Sara Bell’s story. She also encounters wild animals, from nervous mice to lost forest creatures. While Sara Bell has some scares, like an overzealous puppy and a lightning storm, she is always safe and comforted by her fellow farm animals. Beyond observations of farm life and the denizens’ routines, the book also demonstrates important life lessons, such as the kindness and bravery Sara Bell shows in helping a fox with a thorn in its paw.

The rhyming text accompanies bright, cheerful illustrations. The sky in Sara Bell’s life is always blue, and the barn always looks cozy and warm. With an average of five verses per page, the text might move slowly for very young listeners’ attention spans, but children in early elementary school seem to be the right age for the content and for appreciating the colorful depictions of the action.

So many characters appear throughout Sara Bell’s adventures on the farm that it could be easy to confuse them, but the end of the book hosts a helpful guide listing the characters’ names and species. Almost every page shows a different aspect of life on the farm, and this episodic nature means the book could be read all in one sitting or split up into many separate bedtime stories. Young fans of farms or animals as a whole will delight in the scenes from Sara Bell’s sweet, bucolic life.

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