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A Farmer's Alphabet

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Before she became a renowned children’s book illustrator and printmaker, Mary Azarian was a teacher in one of Vermont’s last one-room schoolhouses. In the late 1970s, the state board of education commissioned her to create “a farmer’s alphabet” to provide balance in the classroom and provide rural children with reflections of their own lives. Those woodcuts, in bold, red-and-black, became this book, A Farmer’s Alphabet.

In rustic images that evoke the sights and sounds of daily life on a farm-with its chores, animals, and gardens: A is for Apple, being picked fresh from a tree. D is for Dog, asleep in a cozy armchair. J is for the Jump kids make into a hay mound. N is for Neighbor to chat with across a picket fence. Z is for Zinnia flowers and, of course, F is for Farm.

This oversized book, perfect for sharing, represents a side of life rarely seen in children’s books-a realistic view of a working farm as it provides an alphabetical view for children of country life.

Paperback, 64 pages. Recommended ages 3 to 6 years.

From the exhibition BASCOVE: The Time We Spend with Words on view March 12 through May 30, 2022 at Norman Rockwell Museum.

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