Hamline News

New Book from Phyllis Root


Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Published by: Candlewick Press
Publication date: March 14, 2017
Picture Book, 2-5 years, 32 pages 

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You might think a farm means fields, tractors, and a barnyard full of animals. But you can plant a farm anywhere you like! A box or a bucket, a boot or a pan—almost anything can be turned into a home for green, growing things. Windows, balconies, and front steps all make wonderful spots to start. Who knows what plants you may choose to grow and who will come to see your new garden?

Phyllis Root delivers a modern rhyming mantra for anyone hoping to put their green thumbs to good use, while G. Brian Karas’s cheerful urban illustrations sprout from every page. After all, anywhere can be a farm—all it takes is one small seed and someone to plant it.

For any anywhere farm, here's all that you need: soil and sunshine, some water, a seed.



You can grow your own farm anywhere is the empowering message of this inclusive picture book…. The neighborhood scenes add to the sense of community-building reinforced here. This picture book will be especially beneficial for school units on plants and seeds and for library story times with a spring or gardening theme.
—School Library Journal (starred review

The text focuses on the titular concept of an "anywhere farm," without differentiating between farms and gardens, but this conceit is part of the amusing, rollicking tone. Detailed, soft-focus illustrations in mixed media use an autumnal palette of muted green, peach, and tan…. This pleasant look at gardening in a city setting reflects a growing trend.
—Kirkus Reviews (full review)

Root’s upbeat verse offers playful guidance to readers, using questions and rhyming responses. Karas’s (A Hat for Mrs. Goldman) smudgy mixed-media art warmly shows a community coming together as citizens young and old join in, building to the unveiling of a neighborhood garden/market. It’s a cheery celebration of community and the hands-on joys of gardening.
—Publishers Weekly (full review)

This picture book beautifully blends effortless rhyming text with soft-hued mixed-media illustrations to encourage young gardeners to start growing something—anywhere...The ending suggests that all it takes is one farmer and one anywhere farm to encourage other gardeners—which just might result in a community everywhere farm. A great read-aloud for aspiring gardeners and farmers.

The diverse cast features a variety of skin colors as well as an infant-toting dad, a man in a wheelchair, and a bunch of pets; the group includes active children, old people content just to sit in a chair in the sunshine, and everyone in between. Inspiring and empowering; friendly and inviting.
—The Horn Book



Phyllis Root is the author of over forty books, almost all of them picture books, including Creak! Said the Bed, illustrated by Regan Dunnick; One Duck Stuck, illustrated by Jane Chapman; the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Big Momma Makes the World, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, and Aunt Nancy and Old Man Trouble, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. 

In 2006, Root was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for her book, Lucia and the Light. She has taught at the Loft and in the Complete and Practical Scholar program at the University of Minnesota. When she's not writing, Phyllis Root teaches at both Hamline University and Vermont College, in their MFA in Writing for Children programs.  

She lives with her two daughters and two cats in a 100-year-old house in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and loves to read (mostly mysteries with female protagonists) or spend time outdoors gardening, camping, sailing, or traveling. "One of the things I've learned about myself," she confides, "is that when I get really stuck and can't seem to get writing, it's because I've forgotten to take time out to play."

Read more about Phyllis here.
Visit her Amazon or Goodreads author page.


ABOUT THE illustrator

G. Brian Karas has illustrated more than ninety children’s books, including Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle and the Ant and Honey Bee series by Megan McDonald. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.