Alice’s Farm: a Rabbit’s Tale by Maryrose Wood

Alice and her brother Thistle try to save a human’s farm in this sweet animal story by the author of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Alice’s Farm: a Rabbit’s Tale by Maryrose Wood. Independently published, 2022. 285 pages.

cover of Alice's Farm

Reading Level: Middle grades, ages 8-10

Recommended For: Middle grades, ages 6-12 (note considerations below)

Alice and her brother Thistle are mighty curious about the family moving in to the old farm. Two kids, a dog (warning!), and two parents. Will the rabbits be able to continue their free-ranging enjoyment of the farm now that city folk are moving in? Carl is equally curious about their plans: his family has left the city, he’s going to be homeschooled, and he knows nothing about farming (neither do his parents). Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Carl and his family face a developer bent on acquiring their land; he’s a regular bully. Alice and her family are just as desperate for Carl’s family to keep the farm (and especially keen on that farm’s gardening efforts). Alice decides to take matters into her own hands, starting with the actual gardening. Unlikely allies (both animal and human) combine to make the gardening venture a rousing success. Until it’s not. It’s just not quite successful enough to keep the farm afloat. Will Carl’s family be able to keep their farm?

Alice’s Farm is ultimately Alice’s tale, but chapters are told through other perspectives (such as Carl’s). A lively cast of characters (both animal and human) lend charm to this sweet story of old-fashioned perseverance with new-fashioned sensibilities (organic farming is clearly preferred to more conventional approaches). Carl is a fun homeschooled character, a rarity in middle grades fiction. Technically, he’s probably “unschooled,” but it works for him, and his curiosity and eagerness grow the more he’s away from school. Refreshingly, the animal characters act very much like animals (paws, eating animal food, not actually talking to humans, frankness about life and death, etc.), but like any good animal story, they are anthropomorphized in charming ways. A fun read aloud possibility, especially for those who enjoy feel good animal stories.

Considerations:

  • Sexuality: Carl’s best friend has two dads, which the reader finds out near the end of the book through one sentence (simple enough to omit if you’re reading the book aloud (p. 282).
  • Language: Slang words, such as “darn,” occur, but I didn’t notice anything stronger.
  • Death: Alice and the other rabbits are very frank about the short lifespan and likely end for rabbits (being eaten by a predator). This may be too much for sensitive children, but it doesn’t come across as especially dark or macabre.

Overall Rating: 3.75 out of 5

  • Worldview/Moral Rating: 3.5 out of 5
  • Literary/Artistic Rating: 4 out of 5

Read more about our ratings here.

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Betsy Farquhar

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Southeast.

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