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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - FARMER CAP
farmer cap 9781404831391

Farmer Cap
Written by Jill Kalz
Illustrated by Sahin Erkocak

Publisher: Picture Window Books
ISBN: -13: 9781404831391
Ages: 5 to 7

Farmer Cap . . . to say he is a little strange, a little off-center, and a lot eccentric is being kind. He is like no farmer I have ever met. Of course, you can count on half a hand the number of farmers I know. But, I’ve read the Farmer in the Dell and he seemed kind of normal, except, of course, for letting the cheese stand alone, but that is a whole other issue.

Actually, Farmer Cap’s weirdness is what makes him stand out among farmers. It’s what makes him so funny and so interesting and so, so lovable. While other farmers plant corn and tomatoes, green beans and potatoes, or pumpkins and watermelon, Farmer Cap plants Popsicles and spaghetti. Now if he could only grow chocolate chip cookie-dough ice cream or malted-crunch chocolate bars . . . YUM!

What I love about Farmer Cap is not his green flip-flops or the funny feather poking out of his cap, his knobby knees, or his silly grin, but his innovative, curious, quirky mind . . . and his strength. I love his strength and his confidence--his belief in himself. When all his farmer friends looked on with skepticism and doubt, Farmer Cap stood his ground! He didn’t let his fellow farmers dissuade him. He didn’t let his fellow farmers discourage him or stand in his way. Farmer Cap had conviction! Farmer Cap reminds me of two other characters, named Suki and Monique, whose books are also reviewed in my column called, Teacher’s Pets. (See below) Farmer Cap also reminds me of a character named, Kanona Prattsby, (my book, not yet published) who with her gumption, strength, and determination changes a whole town to make it a brighter and more fun place to live. She and Farmer Cap would make a great couple. Put their minds together and who knows what to expect. They just could make the world a nicer place.

Farmer Cap, Suki, and Monique (and hopefully someday Kanona) are gifts to young readers. They shout be yourself. Stand up for what you believe. Don’t be afraid to think for yourself. Be strong!

And so, hats off to you--I mean . . . Caps off to you, Farmer Cap! And if you ever feel like growing jelly beans or chocolate mint cookies or sour cream/onion potato chips or grape soda pop, or piping hot buttered popcorn, or . . . well, you get the message . . . call me!

Look for a complete review of this book at SmartWriters .

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“Let’s see . . . Farmer Cap . . . What to say about him? First, he’s weird, yes . . . very!” said Timmy, “ And in a way, he’s pretty cool,” he added.

“I agree,” said Ethan. Farmer Cap is a silly, strange man who wears flip flops instead of boots, shorts instead of overalls, and a feathered cap instead of a baseball cap.” 

“I like Farmer Cap,” said Timmy, “because he wears flip-flops and shorts.”

“He’s not like other farmers,” said Jewel.

Callie bobbed her head. “Farmer Cap is a weird old man,” she said.

“He’s a farmer man!” yelled Abby.

”But, he isn’t like a real farmer,” said Andreo.

“Yeah, normal farmers grow lots of vegetables,” said Jewel.

“Farmer Cap did a lot of unusual things,” said Mikaela.

“Yeah . . . he grew marshmallows,” said Timmy.

“GIANT marshmallows,” added Johnny.

 “Pink ones—in his garden,” said Callie with a giggle.

“I mean . . . it’s pretty awesome,” said Timmy. “He probably knows how to grow crackers and chocolate. Now . . . chocolate would be awesome.”

“Farmers are supposed to grow vegetables–not candy,” said Jewel.

Timmy continued, ignoring Jewel. He was on a roll. “If he knew how to grow crackers, marshmallows and chocolate, he could make s’mores for breakfast, dinner, and lunch. Now . . . that I could take!”  he said.

“In a way Farmer Cap was sort of silly,” said Ethan. “But he was kind of smart, too, because not everyone can grow marshmallows.”

Johnny nodded in agreement, “At the beginning you think that Farmer Cap’s dumb,” he said.

“Right!” said Mikaela. “At first I thought he didn’t have a brain.”

Abby jumped in in Framer Cap’s behalf. “He has a very good imagination,” she said. “I can tell you that right away.”

Ethan nodded. “Farmer Cap is somewhat of a genius,” he said. “He’d have to be to grow marshmallows. The rest of the farmers are old-fashioned . . . “

“And . . . BORING!” said Jewel.

“I think the other farmers are boring because they just grow regular crops,” said Timmy. “But, Farmer Cap taught the other farmers a thing or two.”

“By the end of the book, Farmer Cap was envied by the other farmers,” said Ethan.

Yeah,” said Abby. “They wanted to learn more about him. They wanted to grow doughnuts, pretzels, and . . .,”

“Candy canes,” said Callie.

“If I were a farmer, I would plant ice cream,” said Andreo, “Or cookies.”

“I would plant popcorn or chicken fries,” said Jewel.

“Farmer Cap can really accomplish anything if he puts his mind to it,” said Ethan. “And that’s a good way to tell kids they can accomplish anything, too . . . if they put their minds to it.”

“I wish that I had the brains of good ole’ Farmer Cap,” said Ethan. “Sounds like the kind of guy I’d like to know. He’s very talented.”

“The fact is . . . he’s strange,’ said Timmy, “But he’s pretty smart, too.”

Ethan summed it up. “Smart, genius, amazing, unique – all of these words could be used to describe Farmer Cap,” he said.

Everyone agreed.


STEP-BY-STEP: Language Arts/Sequencing

Whatever was Farmer Cap thinking? Drilling holes in the ice and pouring syrup into them seemed rather odd to the other farmers—and so it was. But, Farmer Cap had a plan, and step-by-step, he did it! AND . . . so can you! But . . . maybe you might want to start with something easier than growing marshmallows.

How To Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

First, gather everything you will need.
  • Jar of peanut butter
  • Jar of jelly
  • 2 slices of bread
  • Knife (be sure to ask your mom or dad if you can use a knife.)
  • Spoon
Now you are ready.

1. Place 2 slices of bread on a plate.
2. Open the jar of peanut butter.
3. Stick the knife into the jar of peanut butter and scoop enough peanut butter for 1 sandwich.
4. Spread the peanut butter on 1 slice of bread.
5. Stick the spoon into the jar of jelly and scoop enough jelly for 1 sandwich.
6. Spread the jelly on the other slice of bread.
7. Place the slice of bread with the peanut butter on top of the slice of bread with the jelly.
8. Cut into halves or quarters.
9. Bite into sandwich—Yum! Yum!

How to Clean a Classroom Desk

1. First do a desk-dump. Dump everything onto the floor. Then look at the mess. Put hands on
    head and exclaim, “Oh NO!”
2. Forage for math book and handwriting book and put each back into the desk.
3. Search for journals and floppy folders and put them back into desk, too.
4. Locate all loose pencils, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, etc. and put them into a pencil
    case--then put the pencil case into the desk near the front.
5. Put art smock as far back into desk as possible.
6. Look at the mess still on the floor. Put hands on head and exclaim, “Oh NO!”
7. Stuff all extra “junk”--crumpled up math papers, wrinkled school notices, broken crayons,
    etc. into your backpack--take home to share with mom or dad.
8. Alas, you have a neat desk again . . . for about ten minutes.
9. Repeat process every week.

GROWING AN IMAGINATION: Language Arts/Math-Graph

Farmers don’t grow marshmallows or candy canes or donuts or pretzels, but if they did, wouldn’t it be fun? What would you grow if you had your choice? I would definitely grow fields and fields of donuts . . . sugar-glazed or maple cinnamon or my absolute favorite . . . apple fritter. YUM! YUM! Find out which foods your Kiddles like best. Then graph the results.

1. Draw a vertical or horizontal graph grid on the whiteboard.
2. At the bottom or the side of the grid write the words marshmallows, candy canes, donuts,
    and pretzels. (one word next to each column)
3. As each child votes for his or her favorite food, make an “X” in the corresponding box.
4. Discuss the results—ask questions.
  • Which food was the favorite of the class?
  • How many more children liked marshmallows than candy canes? (or pretzels or donuts)
  • Which food was least liked?
  • What is the sum of the children who choose pretzels and donuts? (or marshmallows or donuts)
  • What is the total of marshmallows plus donuts and pretzels minus candy canes?
  • Depending on your graph results you can make up a variety of questions.
  • Have Fun!
Continue the graph work by having Kiddles suggest other topics. (colors, numbers, fruit, vegetables, sports, etc.

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

HAY NOW Quiz Show
The Kid’s Ag Page


Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Farmer Duck written by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
Sakes Alive! A Cattle Drive written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Karla Firehammer
The Cow Who Wouldn’t Come Down written and illustrated by Paul Brett Johnson
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