Andrew and I both are both so impressed with Julia Rothman’s new book Farm Anatomy that we thought we’d each write our own review. We’re hosting a giveaway too, so check the bottom of the post for details.
This book is so deliciously beautiful, you don’t need to have any interest in farming whatsoever. When you open the book you won’t be able to put it down. Suddenly, you will realize that more than anything you want to learn everything you can about whatever the contents have to offer. As you read, you will understand how fascinating and complex farming really is. But you won’t be scared off. You may decide you want to move to the country and start your own farm after all (or at least daydream about it). With this book in your possession you may even be capable of really doing it. It’s that detailed. Right down to predicting weather by looking at clouds, and how to stack split wood.
What makes this book so scrumptious is the illustrations. They’re simply lovely. Not here and there, but every page. I want to eat this book. It would make an excellent gift for all ages. My kids are leaning a ton, and they’re having a blast doing it. There’s a chapter on tractors and tools (for boys of all ages), plus lots of fun activities like: making natural dyes, a corn husk doll, candles, rag rugs, maple syrup, and how to can tomatoes.
We learned about this book, because I am a fan of Julia Rothman’s artwork. When I first saw it mentioned on her blog I thought she had simply designed a cool book cover, but then I realized she authored and illustrated an entire book on farming. This extensive project was inspired by the author’s visits with her parents-in-law who run a small farm in Iowa. I am very pleased to add Farm Anatomy to my collection of illustrated books on traditional living.
My dad grew up on a farm in upstate New York. He did not care for the exhausting work that characterized his childhood, but when I was a kid it was always fun for me to visit my grandparents. I enjoyed jumping off hay bales, petting horses, and wandering out in the fields. Their farm has since been sold, but this book reminds me of those days. The art was done in a loose, yet well-composed style. It’s all very whimsical. I love how all the titles and text are hand-drawn (the text font was created using the author’s own handwriting). Rothman presents all her information in thoughtful visual arrangements. Throughout the book there is a nice variety of lettering, composition, and color. It all reminds me of Eric Sloane’s illustrated books about early American country living. Farm Anatomy is a delightful reference for adults and kids, and will make a charming gift (even for my dad). —Andrew