Book Review: Once Upon a Farm
from issue: 30-1
The book depicts the rural material culture of his era through the use of lush, detailed illustrations. The pages are dominated by beautiful watercolors reminiscent of Carl Larson. Each scene centers on one aspect of rural life. Details about the scene are related with uncluttered pen and inks. These are all tied together with Artley’s narrative that is neither sugar coated nor sour. While the author describes his childhood as happy and stable – and clearly enjoyed his early years – there were tasks that he found distasteful. It is a story told through the eyes of a boy growing-up; refreshingly honest and personal. The result is a balanced description portraying life before rural electrification as both trying and rewarding, hard and pleasant.