The Year at Maple Hill Farm


By Alice and Martin Provensen

Aladdin Paperbacks, 1978

In summer the fields are full of flowers. Goats and sheep like flowers. Bees like flowers. Everyone likes flowers…In summer the grass is hopping with fleas. No one likes fleas. They bite.

As the preface promises: This is a book about farm animals and what happens during one year on a farm. Alice Provensen and her late husband, Martin, took a steady look around their Straatsburg, NY farm, and chronicled what they saw each month. The illustrations — sometimes as many as seven on a page — have an intimate, unhurried feel to them, something you’d expect to find your art major college roommate doodling in a notebook when she should be taking notes.  And the text is full of joyful observations like so: Almost asleep in a puddle of dust, a dog will still wag his tail as you walk by. A bonus: you’ll learn how to pill a sheep.

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