Tractor Mac is my son Joshua's favorite series of books, by far. "Read Tractor Mac!" is a common phrase heard in our home, and 21-month-old Joshua squeals with delight any time he spots a book with the friendly red tractor on the front. We received the first Tractor Mac book as a gift, and since then we have been growing our collection. It turns out that author and illustrator Billy Steers lives in our state of Connecticut and publishes the books independently under Tractor Mac, LLC. I love supporting a local author when I buy these books, too!
Tractor Mac Farmer's Market is by far my favorite book of the series (though Joshua seems to like them all equally). In this story, Tractor Mac and the other animals on the farm teach the pigs about good, healthy food and take them for a visit to the farmer's market. The farmer's market showcases all of the foods that are grown locally, and since the author is from Connecticut it includes all foods that are grown here. I literally was in tears when I finished reading this book to Joshua for the first time because it conveys messages that are so important to me: supporting local farmers and eating real, healthy food.
Tractor Mac Farmer's Market was written in partnership with Plow to Plate Initiative, which was founded in October 2006 by a chef and a pediatrician in partnersip with New Milford Hospital. Plow to Plate's mission is "To promote the joy, health and econommic well-being that comes from a community united in support of local farmers, who give us real food, harvested and sared with friends and families."
In addition to the story and beautiful, colorful illustrations, the book has recipes from a Chef Anne and the Plow to Plate Youth Chefs for sauteed kale, applesauce, Connecticut blueberry muffins and basil pesto. There is also a page from Dr. Diane and Dr. Evan about making healthy food choices like eating breakfast, opting for whole grains, eating a rainbow of color and choosing locally grown foods. Finally, there's a diagram of Farmer Bill, Tractor Mac's owner, with labels to his different important body systems and information on which foods to eat to keep them healthy, for example: "heart - red & purple fruits and veggies like red grapes, cherries, berries, plums. Lean meats, peas, beans, spinach & O.J. Exercise."
The other day one of my friends, who is mother to two tractor-loving boys, and I were discussing Tractor Mac. She told me about Tractor Mac's facebook page and that there is a real Tractor Mac, or really, a Farmall converted to look like him. Tractor Mac and author Billy Steers make appearances at different Connecticut agricultural fairs throughout the year, so I'm planning to take Joshua to meet them and get a book signed. You can also visit Tractor Mac on his website http://www.tractormac.com/.
Author Billy Steers dedicated Tractor Mac Farmer's Market "to stewards of the land and sea and tillers of the soil, past, present and future." I really just love this book and can see it being a part of our library for many years to come. I've already read it to Joshua twice today.
Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.