Saturday 12 October 2013

Children's book review : Granny Marmalade & Uncle Tractor - Julian Warrender

We recently received a copy of Granny Marmalade & Uncle Tractor : A Celebration of Food & Farming to review. It's a beautifully presented, hardback book of 56 pages that is written by Julian Warrender and illustrated by Gavin Rowe.

Pierre picked it out at bedtime earlier in the week so I read him a chapter - it's much too long to read the whole thing in one sitting so it may be better suited to slightly older children. He loved looking at the pictures and listening to the goings-on at the farm, even if I had to stop and explain some things to him. It's a book that we will be able to come back to many times throughout the year, to discover the changing seasons in the book at the same time as watching nature reveal its secrets outside the window.

I read the introduction, which presents Granny Marmalade, based on the author Julian Warrender who really did start her 'jam factory', Ouse Valley Foods, from the cottage where she lived with her son, Jamie, a farmer who is represented by Uncle Tractor in the book. (They're based just up the road from my hometown of Hastings in Lewes, Sussex.) From there, we jumped straight forward to the pages covering October, where we learnt about the apples being picked, the wild mushrooms growing, the sheep being dipped and the pigs being let loose in the orchard to eat the last of the windfalls. 

Even as a grown-up, the book offers a fascinating glimpse into life on a farm, revealing things that I certainly didn't know. It's packed with fascinating facts but is presented in a very child-friendly, approachable way.

There is so much going on in the pictures that we frequently had to stop and point out all the details, discussing what was happening and what we could see.

If your children are more used to seeing fruit and vegetables in cellophane packs from the supermarket than fresh from the ground, it's also a great introduction to the different crops that are harvested throughout the year in Britain.

I was delighted to discover that there are even some recipes at the back of the book, for Orange Marmalade and Orange & Mandarin Marmalade. Another little bonus is a free copy of the Granny Marmalade & Uncle Tractor song that you can download at

It's slightly ambitious for 4-year-old Pierre at the moment (although he loves looking at the pictures) but for slightly older children, it's a lovely story that is very educational. We'll definitely be coming back to it throughout the year as a companion to the changing seasons.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Hare and Heron Press (18 Dec 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957473001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957473003
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 21.2 x 1.2 cm

Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Children's book review : Pinkabella Dress Up Sticker Book

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