Prather’s Pick: A book about reaching a goal
June 2, 2015
Kids like to read books about tractors, such as the picture books about "Otis" and "Big Tractor" — books previously reviewed in this column. This week I found "Tractor Mac: New Friend" one in a series of books about a red tractor, and I was impressed because during the story, the reader learns how to go about solving a problem.
The book was written and illustrated by Billy Steers. It's one of eight picture books about Tractor Mac, and there are four more in the works. The books are published by Farrar Straus Giroux; this week's featured book has a 2015 copyright date.
The story begins one day when Spartan, a colt, is playing in an unused (unplanted) field by the river on Story Meadow Farm. It's not that there isn't a lot of vegetation in the field, but it isn't planted with a farm crop. Spartan wants to know why Farmer Bill doesn't use the field.
Tractor Mac says it's because the field is too small for him to work. (He's a big tractor.) Then the animals chime in. Sibley, a horse, thinks the field is too far gone. That just might be true because the field seems to be overgrown with grasses, vines, wildflowers, and trees. Goat Walter thinks it looks creepy. (One thing is for sure. The wild animals like the field. There are lots of them for the reader to see.)
Well, that very same afternoon, another tractor shows up at the farm. She's a smaller red tractor, and her name is Daisy. (The name is printed on her side.) She's there with Cathy the farmhand, and they've got a lot of tractor tools with them because they're going to plant the field.
The animals don't think that Daisy can do the job — the field is a mess, but Tractor Mac encourages her. So Daisy and Cathy get to work, and at first the going is pretty tough. Daisy gets stuck in all of the vines and weeds. So Farmer Bill and Tractor Mac come to help them get started. They pull Daisy free from all of the vegetation, and then everyone pitches in to chop, pull, and drag. Even Goat Walter helps by eating as many of the vines as possible. They pull away the tree stumps and logs, and the field is cleared. However, there's a long way to go before it can be planted.
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The next day Tractor Mac and Farmer Bill have other work to do. Daisy and Cathy are on their own, and they have doubts about getting the job done. That's when Tractor Mac gives them some advice. He says to set small goals to reach their big goal, and that's just what they do.
One day they fix the drainage. The next day they repair the fence, and so forth. Before long the field is planted. Small steps to reach a big goal! What a great lesson!
There are illustrations of both tractors, one on each inside cover of the book, with the tractor parts labeled. Kids are going to love this book. The Craig Moffat County Library has all eight books about Tractor Mac or you can purchase the picture book for $8.99 in hardcover.