Monday, 9 March 2015

The Farmer in the Dell: book review

The Farmer in the Dell 

Book review by Trevor Agnew


The Farmer in the Dell (2014) Trad, ill. Jenny Cooper, Scholastic, Auckland NZ, 32 pages, paperback  ISBN  978 1 77543 195 4

Following the success of the same team’s versions of There’s a Hole in My Bucket (2011)and She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain (2013), they have now produced a lively presentation of The Farmer in the Dell.

The lyrics of the song are neatly matched by Jenny Cooper’s illustrations. The farmer – a distinctively antipodean type – joins hands with his wife, who is dancing in the traditional gumboots. As the song progresses they are joined by child, nurse, cow, dog, cat, mouse and cheese. Meanwhile the singer – a doleful looking bloodhound – sings, plays banjo and provides the dance instructions. “Do-si-do and take a bow!”

A simple musical score is also included. 

An accompanying CD has a cheerful performance of the song, using the musical talents of the Topp Twins, Linda and Jools. They perform the song twice in lively country style.
The second version is timed to allow dancers to perform the dance and comes complete with caller’s instructions.


Trevor Agnew 

10 Oct 2014  

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