The Real Farmer in The Dell


Children - Picture Book
36 Pages
Reviewed on 03/28/2019
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Author Biography

Sandra lives with her husband and their two spunky kids just outside of Lexington, Kentucky. Having grown up in Colorado, she left a piece of her heart in the Rocky Mountains and often daydreams of permanently returning one day. It isn't uncommon for a bit of the West to show up in her writing, much like it did in THE REAL FARMER IN THE DELL. Although that's not to say she doesn't love the lush green fields and winding country roads of the Bluegrass State!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Real Farmer in The Dell is a children’s adventure picture book written by Sandra Sutter and illustrated by Chantelle and Burgen Thorne. While we all know the nursery rhyme about the farmer in the dell, the real story is quite a bit different than those familiar lyrics. It wasn’t a farmer, and it wasn’t even a dell. The farmer was actually a rancher who lived on, of course, a ranch. The farmer didn’t take a wife, because...the farmer was a woman. She took a husband. So how do we know all these new facts? Because there was a witness to all of the goings-on at that ranch. The mouse was there the whole time, and has decided to go public with the real story.

That very obliging mouse and the author, Sandra Sutter, have done a marvelous job of modernizing the old nursery rhyme in this clever and very entertaining children’s picture book, The Real Farmer in The Dell. While traditionalists may insist on adhering to the original version of the story, I found the mouse’s tale to contain more adventure and excitement, plus it makes a lot more sense -- especially the ending. Sutter’s story will resonate with those kids whose parents and caregivers have made efforts to eliminate gender-assigned roles, and it’s a good introduction to the changing reality of life for kids from more traditional backgrounds. Who says a rancher has to be a man? Or a doctor? Or an astronaut? The possibilities are endless for kids of both genders. This story sets the stage for productive discussions about careers and what kids want to be when they grow up. Artists, Chantelle and Burgen Thorne, bring the mouse’s corrected version to life beautifully. I loved seeing the desert scenery and the rodeo action through their eyes. Their artwork is filled with action and detail, making each panel a joy to study closely. The Real Farmer in The Dell is most highly recommended.

Dawn Weaver

You think you know the story behind the song The Farmer in the Dell? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong! The Real Farmer in the Dell by Sandra Sutter is a delightful children’s story that brings a surprising twist to a familiar song. As each verse of the song is sung, or rather re-sung, it is fixed by an actual eyewitness to the events of the time, and won’t you be surprised! Beautifully illustrated by the husband-and-wife team of Burgen and Chantelle Thorne, each page cleverly brings the new facts to life. Children of any age will enjoy seeing the way the changes to the song have been incorporated into a humorous and imaginative story. What other favorite childhood songs have a secret story behind them?

The Real Farmer in the Dell by Sandra Sutter was a delight from beginning to end! I thought I knew where this was heading, but I was surprised throughout! Sutter tells the story with warmth, humor, and just a little bit of tongue-in-cheek jabbing at our ideas of the way things may have happened. The details in the illustrations add so much to the story; I found myself going back over them again and again to catch the little surprises that I missed the first time through. I can see that this book will quickly become a family favorite and will be shared with friends as well. I think it’s obvious that it’s high time for us to learn to sing this song the right way.

Barbara Fanson

Definitely, a 5-star book! The mouse remembers the story of The Real Farmer in the Dell a little differently because he was there. With the help of author Sandra Sutter, the mouse recalls the original version of this classic song. But, there’s also a major difference—what if the farmer is really a rancher? And what if the rancher is a female? This professionally written and illustrated book is bound to become a classic. It has the makings of a wonderful story: engaging, entertaining, engulfing, and enjoyable. With pencil crayon artwork of the ole west, the mouse edits the story with a red pencil crayon. This version of a popular children’s song is destined to be a memorable ditty.

The illustrations in The Real Farmer in the Dell are outstanding. The mouse, the horses, the dogs are all well drawn. Illustrators Chantelle and Burgen Thorne have provided realistic, cuddly, adorable artwork of people and animals. There’s also some excellent hand lettering, which is not easy to do. This book was fun to read and compare to the other version. I enjoyed reading the story and looking at the top-notch illustrations. I found myself looking for the cat or mouse in each picture, which children—and parents—will enjoy. The shadows of the mouse or cat were interesting additions that you don’t often see in children’s picture books. All these little extras add interactivity to the story and engage children. I think every school, home, and public library should have this entertaining and engaging book on the shelf. Let’s gather round and sing this song...

Laura Emanuel

Absolutely amazing can’t wait to get mine and read to my grandchildren.
I find they don’t really enjoy the old traditional books anymore. They love a laugh and a twist
Highly recommended !!!
Congratulations to all concerned !