Title: The Farmer’s Wife
Author: Idries Shah
Illustrator: Rose Mary Santiago
Publisher: Hooppe Books, June 2005
Suitable for: 3 and up
Themes/Topics: Culture: Afghanistan, Folktale/lore, Problem-solving,
Once upon a time there was a farmer’s wife. One day when she was picking apples from a tree, one of the apples fell into a hole in the ground and she couldn’t get it out.
This is a cumulative tale about a woman's efforts to retrieve an apple from a hole in the ground. Children will enjoy learning the highly predictable lines by heart. But when a surprise event changes the direction of the tale, their expectations will be jolted in a most amusing way, and they will have learned its valuable lessons about the nature of problem solving and discovery. Rose Mary Santiago’s striking illustrations evoke the story’s origins and, at the same time, add a uniquely playful atmosphere to this funny tale.
Links to resources:
Activity and discussion ideas.
*What was the moral of the story? Have your child(ren) discuss what they got out of the book.
*This story can be used to talk about problem solving. Let your child(ren) discuss alternative ways the farmer’s wife could have retrieved the apple from the hole.
*Talk about the importance of treating animals with kindness. Is it ever okay to have one animal hurt another?
*Notice the dress of the farmer’s wife? Where is she from? Have your child(ren) guess where she is from. This story is an Afghani folktale. Where is Afghanistan? Have your child(ren) look up the country and research the culture.
*Afghani girl cultural dress coloring page.
*Read the story online.
Why I like this book:
This was a really cute tale that reminded me of the stories I grew up reading like the Old lady who swallowed the fly, the napping house, etc. I always loved a story that started off, “Once Upon A Time.” :D Those are the classics. There is always a lesson to be learned in a ‘once upon a time’ tale! In this story children learn that being persistent will sometime lead to remarkable outcomes. For young children, it helps to have the repetition in the story. It helps them anticipate the rest of the story and encourage early literacy skills. The illustrations were playful and hilarious! I loved them. Another neat thing about the books is that it is translated into Spanish as well. I took Spanish in college and tried reading and well let’s just say I need to go re-learn the language! :(