Welcome to Silver Street Farm. Nicola Davies. February 28, 2012. Candlewick. 80 pages. ISBN: 9780763658311.
Meera, Gemma, and Karl have been best friends since kindergarten, when they all played together with the classroom farm set and decided they would one day have their own farm in the city. Now they’re older and in middle school, and their dream of starting a farm just might start to come true. Karl’s batty aunt accidentally buys some sheep, mistaking them for poodles, which is the first in a chain of uncanny events that all but creates the farm for them. The only issue now is whether the city council will approve the plan to turn an old station on Silver Street into a farm or tear it down as planned.
This book does something entirely new with the chapter book genre, which I think is really great. It takes the focus away from kids in the beginning reader age range and tells a story about community-minded tweens that still appeals to the younger crowd. Animal stories are popular in chapter books, but the nice thing about this one is that it also focuses a lot on kid power, and shows what kids are able to accomplish for their own communities. Things come together a little too neatly at some points, but within the context of this story, it works really well and contributes to the feeling that starting the farm is almost a matter of destiny. I was also really pleased that the story doesn’t beat the reader over the head with its messages about community-mindedness and maintaining a green lifestyle. It lets the story demonstrate these morals, and allows kids to draw their own conclusions.
This book was published in the UK in February 2011, and will be published in the US on February 28, 2012. Four more titles in the series - All Aboard at Silver Street Farm, Escape from Silver Street, and Spring Fever at Silver Street Farm - are currently available in the UK, and a fifth book, Crowded out at Silver Street Farm, is due out in August. I thoroughly enjoyed this first book and hope to see the others make it over to the States as well!
I received a digital ARC of Welcome to Silver Street Farm from Candlewick via NetGalley.
For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.