Farmer Falgu Goes On A Trip
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Kanika Nair
Why I like this book:
The illustrations are fantastic! Really, I totally dig the illustrators modern style for a classic kind of tale.
The story is simple enough for a toddler to enjoy, but could also keep the attention of a preschooler with it’s easy rhythm and cool illustrations. Since there are a lot of characters in the book, it opens itself to different discussions about their lives and occupations. (My two-year-old is also into all things with wheels and farm animals, so it hits the mark for those things too!)
The idea of looking for silence but finding that sound has happiness in it too, is such an interesting concept that can be explored in may ways. It shows how both silence and chaos can be embraced and are necessary parts of life at times.
Extra, Extra, Read All About It!:
If you like Farmer Flag, there are a few other books that feature him! Check out Farmer Falgu Goes To The Market and Farmer Falgu Goes Kite Flying.
Keep It Going! Simple Expansion Activities:
Math: How many people ride with Farmer Falgu? My two-year-old and I decorated clothespins and used them to illustrate each person that climbed aboard Farmer Falgu’s wagon. We clipped them to a wagon toy as each person got on board during the story. So many people got on, some had to ride in the wagon, but it made it even more exciting to see if it would overflow. (The life of a two-year-old really is a roller coaster of excitement!) After we read the book and got everyone on or in the wagon, we counted the clothespin people. Then we counted backwards as they got off the wagon at their stop. If you don’t have clothespins, you can just draw each person or use pieces of string to represent all the peeps in this story. (If you use clothespins but don’t have a wagon, a cardboard box is just as exciting, and makes a fabulous sound if you drop all the clothespins in and give it a few shakes!)
Art/Music: Playing drums like the musician or dancing like the dancers can be fun ways to think more about the characters in the story. You can also try to be the chorus of sounds that Farmer Falgu hears on his farm each day and night!
Self-Care: Take a deep breath and reach your arms to the sky. Breath out and reach to the Earth. Find some silence in your day through a few moments of relaxed breathing, gazing into the flame of a candle, or resting softly on a cloud (i.e. a cozy blanket, couch cushion, pillow fort, nap mat, whatever.) Even kiddos as young as two can find at least 30 seconds of silence within themselves and it really brings a calming energy that you might want to delve into at times when you’re feeling like Farmer Falgu and want to get as far away from the noise and chaos of your day as possible, but can’t find a bathroom or closet to hide in…or a wagon to ride away on!
Social Studies: Oh, this book is basically the crown jewel for starting more in-depth social studies with toddlers and preschoolers! As a teacher, my brain basically exploded with all the ways to fit this book into a social studies unit, from the relationships in the story, to the location and cultural studies, to mapping…hot diggity! (Yes, I’m a social studies dork. I will totally own that.)
For my two-year-old we talked about where Farmer Falgu and his new wagon-riding friends might live. I guessed it was India, and so we looked that up on a map and talked about what is happening in India (and in the book) that is the same as where we are (cows! music! dancing! wagon rides! farmers!) and what is different (clothing? methods of transportation? weather?) We found so many similarities, it really cemented that world connection. Same, same but different.
We also made a makeshift map of his route, which is basically a lot of marker scribbles. We added painted dots where each person or group might have joined in (dot makers are fantastic for this, but any paint or even stickers will do). We took a walk around our own neighborhood and made another scribbly map of our route, and added painted dots that showed where our favorite spots were, like the tractor barn and the boo boo trees that fell down in the storm. The maps looked pretty similar, which added to our list of similarities. Again, we are same, same but different!
For older preschoolers, you can really dig into these activities making more detailed maps and discussing where you think Farmer Falgu lives and why you came to that conclusion. Figuring out where he lives and finding it on a map or doing more reading about that area of the world could also bring the story further to life. If you decide to make a map of his route and a map of your neighborhood, you could add more details, including practicing letter writing by adding street signs or written details (i.e. Charlie’s House or Tree). Mapping for kiddos is a phenomenal activity, it gives me all the feels as a teacher, but also as a parent. I can see what is so important to my kiddo that he actually remembers it after the walk is over, and it gets me thinking deeper about who he is and what he finds interesting. And I know I find him interesting so I’m all about learning more about how his brain is ticking!
I hope you like this story as much as me and Kid K do, and find something out of these activities useful. Even if you don’t, the book itself is a fun read if you come across it. If you live in Burlington, VT I know it’s at the Fletcher Free Library so check it out while it’s hot!