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Old Mikamba Had a Farm


This fabulous version of the classic nursery song “Old MacDonald” introduces children to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds. It is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora, with her signature collage-style artwork.
Old Mikamba had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had . . . a giraffe, a baboon, and an elephant! Meet Old Mikamba, who watches over a wide variety of animals on his game farm in the ...
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This fabulous version of the classic nursery song “Old MacDonald” introduces children to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds. It is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora, with her signature collage-style artwork.
Old Mikamba had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had . . . a giraffe, a baboon, and an elephant! Meet Old Mikamba, who watches over a wide variety of animals on his game farm in the plains of Africa. Children will discover a whole new set of fun animal sounds as they are invited to sing along and roar with the lions, bellow with the rhino, whinny with the zebras, honk with the wildebeests, and more!
A wonderful introduction to African wildlife that is great fun to read aloud, this truly irresistible rendition of a beloved song includes a list of animal fun facts and gives children a huge variety of animal sounds to imitate as they pore over the detailed animals, landscapes and patterns in the stunning illustrations.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Sarah Harrison Smith
…[a] playful reworking of the folk song Old MacDonald. Some of the animals on Mikamba's farm may be unfamiliar, and that's part of the fun…
Publishers Weekly
As she did in There Was a Tree, Isadora sets this riff on a classic children’s song in Africa. Using “Old MacDonald” as a template, her rendition introduces 14 wild residents of a game farm and the sounds they make. With a few exceptions (dassie, springbok), the species will be familiar to most readers, and their phonetically punchy utterings, which include a baboon’s “OOH-HA-HA” and a wildebeest’s “HONK-HONK,” are fun to imitate while singing along. Though Isadora’s earth-toned, mixed-media illustrations are uncluttered—the animals appear against mostly white backdrops with minimal landscape—there is complexity within. The collages feature an inventive assortment of textures and patterns: elephants’ and rhinos’ hides are newsprint, wildebeests’ fur resembles wood grain, and giraffes’ spots are swatches of patterned textiles; borders feature the scrubby vegetation and low hills of the book’s plains setting. Intriguing incidental facts about each animal (no two zebras have the same stripe pattern; there are more than 370 species of parrots) are included at the end of the book, which strikes a neat balance between being rousing and soothing. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Old Mikamba may have a farm, but it’s a game farm on the African plains, and the animals on his farm are a far cry from the typical cow/pig/chicken that hang out with Old MacDonald. Here, baboons, zebras, and elephants share space with rhinos, giraffes, and cheetahs. . . . A whole new lot of animal sounds. . . . Intriguingly composed figures.”
Library Media Connection

“Rachel Isadora puts a new spin on the tale of Old MacDonald’s Farm. . . . Readers will discover the animals and sounds of Africa. . . . Creatively designed.”

“While the animal sounds are fun and lend themselves perfectly to a storytime rendition, the artwork is a particular treat. Collages that give a distinct sense of place, set against plentiful white space that allows the animals to pop. . . . An extensive concluding note provides interesting facts about all of the animals included, as well as a mention of the role game farms and parks play in protecting Africa’s endangered species.”
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—"Old Mikamba had a farm, E-I-E-I-O." But there are no cows or ducks here, because Old Mikamba lives in Africa on a game farm. Here, readers are introduced to a baboon, cheetah, zebra, and elephant as well as a dassie and a springbok. Meant to be shared aloud, the text provides a variety of fun sounds to re-create with a partner. The "trill-trill" of the dassie and the "bleat-bleat" of the giraffe are sure to delight. Isadora's stunning collage brings the colors and textures of the African plain to life. Newsprint and printed paper provide rich textures and vivid color for both the animals and the fabric of Mikamba's clothing. The animals are parent/child pairs and this augments the shared feel of the song. Concluding pages provide background on the featured species, including habitat, communication systems, and endangered status. Lovely to look at as well as pure joy to read aloud, this title will demand an encore again and again.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH
Kirkus Reviews
A familiar text is adapted to use in an unfamiliar environment with happy results. Old Mikamba's game farm includes a host of animals from the African plains, including baboons, elephants and cheetahs. After the traditional e-i-e-i-o, the baboon cavorts and says, "ooh-ha-ha." The elephant snorts, "baraaa-baraaa," and the cheetah makes a "grrrr-grrrr" sound. It's hardly a revolutionary formula, but the combination of the known and the unknown (Isadora introduces springboks and wildebeests), the amusing noises that each animal makes, and the exuberant collages incorporating woven fabrics, newsprint, and other materials all make for a winning strategy. Mikamba's child helpers on the game farm appear from time to time, but the animals take center stage. Tidbits of information about the animals are presented at the end, but their ranges are omitted. Although these animals can be found in different parts of Africa, the game-park setting allows all of them to be found together. From dawn to dusk, as represented in the handsomely painted endpapers, young children will want to visit this farm and "grunt-grunt" with the hippos and "chirp-chirp" with the ostriches. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257407
  • Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
  • Publication date: 10/31/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 184,007
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Isadora received a Caldecott Honor for Ben’s Trumpet. She is the author of Bea at Ballet, Peekaboo Bedtime, Say Hello! and the Lili at Ballet series, and has written and illustrated several classic stories and songs set in Africa. She lives in New York City.
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