Angela Taylor – The Machinery Shed

Self-published, Australia, 2021
Artwork by theillustrators.com.au

On one level this is a picture book made for country kids, especially those who live on working farms. It presents the day to day lives of such children in a way that mainstream picture books and other children’s literature do not, thus acknowledging and valuing their real world experiences.

Barbie talks to Angela Taylor about The Machinery Shed

However, the author also manages to communicate with us the importance of the machinery shed as a centre of family activity, learning and life training, in much the same way as we our home kitchens. Skills and knowledge passed from generation to generation are crucial to life on the land and in the case of big machinery, there is a very important message about farm safety.

Too many children and young people are prone to accidents and misadventure in farm environments with the ever-present dangers of livestock, pests, diseases, machinery and water, for example. It is therefore important to stress that these large friendly looking machines in Angela Taylor’s book are treated in real life with great respect.

There are always firm rules and procedures on farms, not just to keep the farm business economy on track but to protect those who not just work but live on and from the land.

Urban kids have so much validation of their lifestyles, dreams and activities, friendship groups, school life and leisure pastimes. Children whose days are spent with parents, grandparents and farm workers have a different experience. They have different interests and needs and this sort of book tells them that they are valued and that their lives are just as interesting as their city counterparts. And it gives them reading material relevant and connected to their lives.

The big illustrations are as expansive as the Australian farm, the colours a blaze of wheat yellow, tractor red, crop green and big sky blue. There’s a lot to learn in this little book making it an ideal addition to the school or home library. All we need then is a farm stay to reinforce these lessons. Sign me up.

Thank you Angela Taylor for my review copy and for spending time with me speaking about farm life and your writing.