Author: Jim Shroyer
Illustrator: Rita A. Kraushaar
Year published: 2012
Publisher: Tussey-Harris Publishing
Number of pages: 30
Recommended age: 3+
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (Amazon): It is Grandma Helen’s birthday and the family has come for a visit. Mika wants to see a baby calf born. When a calf is born, Farmer Tom shows Mika how to feed the calf. Once the calf is nice and warm, Mika asks to name the calf. Most farmer’s do not name their cows, but Farmer Tom agrees to name the calf Holly.
1. What is the book about? This book is about a little girl who visits a farm for her Grandma’s birthday and a baby calf is born. She names her Holly.
2. What do you think of the cover and/or the pictures in the book? I liked all the pictures except one. On page 6, the picture of the Grandma blowing out the candles looks like an animal. It looks weird but I liked all the other ones.
3. What is your favorite part of the book? My favorite part of the book was when the girl was giving the calf fig cookies. That part was funny even though she shouldn’t have done that because it might make the calf throw up.
4. What is your least favorite part of the book? I didn’t like the part that said that the calf was covered in ice and snow because it made me feel sad and scared for the little calf. Another part I liked was when the calf crashed into his Mom when she was running out of control.
5. How did the book make you feel? The book made me feel good. I would like to give a milk bottle to a baby calf one day.
6. What did you learn from this book? I learned that calves can stand up soon after they are born and but they are really wibbly wobbly. I also learned that calves like to eat cookies.
7. Who do you think would like this book? This was a good book. I liked it alot. I think all girls and boys would like reading it especially if they like cows.
Son Rating: ★★★★½
Son Rating: ★★★★½
What I liked and disliked: When Grandma Helen celebrates her 90th birthday on the farm with her children and grandchildren, they are all in for a surprise when a calf is born on a cold winter’s night. Mika, Farmer Tom’s young niece, has the opportunity to see first hand how fragile life can be when the baby calf, whom she names “Holly”, must be tended to indoors due to the cold, cold weather. But it doesn’t take long for Holly to literally be on her feet, drinking her mother’s milk and exploring her surroundings on wobbly legs.
Jim Shroyer’s story about Holly Holstein introduces young readers to life on a farm and the first few days of a newborn calf’s life. In the story, Mika has the opportunity to bottle feed the newborn calf and to observe it taking its first steps soon after it is born. The story is really just to introduce us to Holly who will presumably be featured in future stories taking place on the same farm. The story is really simple and Holly is introduced only about halfway through the book.
There is only one part of the story that I would like to highlight in this review and that is where Mika feeds the newborn calf some fig cookies. At this part of the story, I turned to my son and asked, “Should she be feeding the new born calf cookies?” My son responded “No”. However, in the story, the whole incident is described as something amusing that Mika did (with Grandma even being an accomplice) rather than pointing out that she should not have fed the cookies to the calf. If the author is trying to teach young children about farming, then Mika probably should have been told in the story that this was wrong. It is wrong, right?
There are many illustrations of varying sizes that help the reader get a feel for the setting. I agree with my son about the one picture – it was a bit unusual. There were other illustrations that were a bit off in terms of proportion and perspective as well – some of the cows for example, but overall, the illustrations were well done.
My bottom line: I thought this was a sweet feel-good story about family and farm life. I think boys and girls aged 3 years and older would like this book, especially if they have a soft spot for baby calves.
Mom Rating: ★★★★☆
Mom Rating: ★★★★☆
* The Adventures of Holly Holstein was provided to us by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest review.*
About the Author:
(From the back cover) Jim Shroyer grew up in east central Oklahoma on a farm-ranch operation near Eufaula. His family grew grain sorghum, soybeans, and hay, and raised beef, dairy cattle, pigs, and one mean leghorn rooster. While doing daily farm chores, Jim observed the different personalities of the various farm animals. These childhood observations, in addition to having a father who told bedtime stories, provided Jim with materials and a background for regaling his own four boys with farm stories at bedtime. The adventures of Holly Holstein were stories that were often told to send the lads to dreamland.
Jim and his wife, Gail, have made Manhattan, Kansas home for the past 30 years. During that time, Jim has been a faculty member in the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University.