A small orange cat finds a new home on an organic farm, where she explores the farm world, helps with pest control and spends her winter warm and dry at the home of one of the farmers, in this book based on a true story.
The star of this appealing introduction to organic farming is a homeless cat that wandered into a northern California farm in 2005. She was adopted by the farmers and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) participants and was sheltered by the illustrator for several winters. Realistic watercolors provide a cat’s-eye view of the farm with its big brown farmer boots, its sheltering leaves and its interesting animal life. A simple text describing what she sees accompanies the full-page illustrations. A separate narrative, in rhymed couplets, is set on insets with close-ups of the green-eyed cat, sometimes zoomed in on a nose or tongue. The backmatter is frankly educational, providing further explanation of the major points: healthy soil and compost, beneficial bugs, companion planting, crop rotation, animal helpers, buying locally, community connections and, incidentally, city farms. There are additional descriptions of plant parts, life cycles and some further reading and teaching suggestions, as well as the story of the real-life Molly.
Pair this with Deborah Hodge and Brian Harris’ Up We Grow (2010) for two different visions of modern environmentally conscious farm life.
— Kirkus Reviews (January 18, 2012)
As an orange-striped stray explores a community farm, inviting text introduces the gentle-on-nature methods organic farmers employ to nurture a healthy growing environment and manage pests and weeds. Children will be charmed by the cat’s-eye viewpoint, verdant watercolors, and staccato rhymes scattered throughout (“Catching whiffs./Molly sniffs”). Activity ideas and photos of the real-life Molly are appended.
— School Library Journal (August 1, 2013)
When a stray cat appears at a community farm, she is welcomed by the farmers and makes herself at home among the plants. Molly the cat’s presence steers the text’s discussion of organic farming, with back matter adding more details about topics such as crop rotation, companion planting, and compost. The child-friendly illustrations, including photos of the real-life Molly, complement the approachable story.
— Horn Book (Fall 2012)
Inspired by a true story, Carol Malnor and Trina Hunner create two lively tales in one book about the endearing feline denizen of an organic garden. In the longer story, youngsters learn, through Molly the cat’s adventures, about the compost heap, buzzing bees and pumpkins (orange like her) that are part of this green community. The authors follow the gardening cycle from spring through winter, and Hunner captures the seasons in colors luscious enough to eat. Small inserts on each double-page spread present a second, very short rhyming story that will appeal to young children. Families will enjoy “growing” their knowledge with the four pages of back matter that focus on aspects of organic gardening—companion planting, animal helpers, buying locally—and feature photos of the real Molly.
— Washington Parent – Mary Quattlebaum (July 2012)
Molly’s Organic Farm is a children’s picture book based on a true story about a little yellow, stray cat who found a home on a lovely organic vegetable farm. Delicate paintings of Molly in the gardens of her newly chosen home are complemented by occasionally versed narrative to teach the interweavings and workings of nature that help to make an organic farm or CSA. Molly watches the growing season unfold with excited interest, smelling compost, hunting rats, watching insects, and feeling the sun’s heat and the spinklers’ wetness. In fall, Molly helps to sell the produce at the farmers’ market. At night, Molly hears the bats and barn owl, who also play a part in the balance of life on an organic farm. Finally frost and snow help put the garden to sleep, and Molly shivers. Luckily, she is given a warm and cozy home for the winter with a young farm couple. In the spring she can once again take part in the joy of growing organic produce on her lovely organic farm. Molly’s Organic Farm has special teaching pages with information and ideas about organic farm practices that are described in the story. Molly’s Organic Farm is both an entertaining, compassionate story and a teaching tool for children age 5 and up.
— Midwest Book Review (March 2012)
This story is based on true events when a homeless cat appeared at an organic farm in California. The last page includes the true story and pictures of the real-life cat. Seen through Molly’s eyes, the text presents information about the organic garden with additional information on selected topics from the narrative. There is a bibliography and some activities at the end of the book. The watercolor illustrations include small picture insets with a rhyming couplet about Molly the cat’s activities. Teaching activities are available on the publishers website.
— Library Media Connection – (October 2012)
Molly is a homeless orange cat that shows up on an organic farm. This curious cat finds out what a compost pile is, why insects are in the garden, what companion plants are, why farmers rotate crops, and much more! Molly’s farm provides food for the local market and brings neighbors together. When winter comes, Molly settles inside her new home until spring when she can explore the farm again! More detailed information on organic farming can be explored at the end of the book. Plus, children can read about the real Molly, an actual cat that inspired this story!
— Susan Heim on Parenting Blog (Chicken Soup for the Soul editor) (April 22, 2012)
What is an organic farm? When a stray cat wonders onto a farm, she is named Molly and not only finds a home, but also learns about organic farming. Hunner’s realistic watercolors are very helpful in showing what cats really do in their daily activities and they take Molly through the seasons from the greens of spring, the many colors of summer, the oranges and browns of fall to the whiteness of winter snows. In her daily antics Molly grooms, hunts, and sleeps, as she learns about organic farming. With the help of her innate curiosity Molly learns about composting, helpful bugs, companion plants, rotating crops, and more. Based on a true story, this realistic fiction book is a great addition to the K-5 classroom library and helps review the seasons, the senses, and parts of a plant. Each spread has an inset with short poems to jumpstart the reader’s own creative poetry. Following Molly’s story is more information including “The True Story of the Real Molly” including photographs of the real Molly and where to download lesson plans and activities to use with the book
— Children’s Literature – Larnette Snow (July 2012)
School’s out. Gardens are growing. During the summer you’ll want to inspire your children to stay active both physically and mentally. Reading and gardening both are excellent activities especially when the reading involves garden themes. Multi-award winner, Dawn Publications, of Nevada City, CA specializes in quality children’s books about nature. I have had the pleasure of reading two of their latest publications, Molly’s Organic Farm (ages 4-10) and Jo MacDonald Had a Garden (ages 3-8).
What I loved about these books besides the well-told stories and beautiful illustrations are the curriculum components at the back of each book. These can range from topics of discussion such as crop rotation and beneficial insects to indoor activities and garden tips.
If you go to the Dawn Publications website, you can also download activity ideas relating to the different books. For example, when looking through the pages of All Around Me I See by Laya Steinberg you can find animals, insects and birds hiding in their habitat. In the downloadable activity, Classroom Camouflage, students will discuss how camouflage helps keep animals safe from predators.See downloadable activities by book here -> https://dawnpub.com/downloadable_activities_book/
Gardening with your kids and reading with your kids about gardening will make for an enjoyable summer for both you and your kids.
— School Garden Weekly – George Pessin (June 18, 2012)
“So much to explore!” discovers Molly, the lost orange cat in the book Molly’s Organic Farm. Molly wanders onto an organic farm while searching for a place to sleep, but she’s so intrigued by the nuances of farm life—including compost, beneficial insects, and trips to the local farmer’s market—that she stays. The farmers quickly welcome Molly as part of the complex farm community.
Many children will be familiar with the concepts in this book from their own farm or garden experiences, but even if not, they can relate to Molly’s curiosity, as well as her need for comfort and the occasional tasty treat. By integrating details from all the senses into the text and illustrations, the author and illustrator have ensured that even children without direct garden or farm experience will appreciate the subtleties of farm life and become curious to learn more.
Soft, vibrant illustrations, many of which are presented from the cat’s point of view, draw second-graders in and encourage children to go out and peer between rows and under leaves to see what they can find. Further, because Molly’s story takes place over the course of a growing season, the illustrations reflect the changing colors and textures of the seasons and remain dynamic and appealing throughout the story.
— 2nd Grade Reading – Ann Norris (Sept. 14, 2012)
Molly is a small, homeless cat. One day she wanders into an organic farm and is warmly welcomed by the farmers. We explore the garden with her, having adventures and making discoveries about compost, eneficial insects, companion planting, crop rotation, animals that are part of the balance of life, community gardens and farmers’ markets. Full color illustrations and five pages of information, activities, resources and readings enhance this engaging book. For little nature lovers, gardeners and veggie eaters, ages 4-10.
— Light of Consciousness (Summer 2012)
Molly, a homeless cat, discovers an organic farm where she explores a compost pile and finds helpful bugs, shady sunflowers, and silky corn stalks. She watches the farm’s market day and community pumpkin patch. The true story of Molly shows kids more about life on a farm and where our food comes from.
— Imagination Soup – Melissa Taylor (April 2012)
Every page has a surprise in this clever rhyming book about animals in a woodland habitat. From grazing fawns to dunking raccoon kits, young readers will learn the names for each woodland baby and a fun fact about it, as they count the young animals in each inventive illustration. The end of the book gives a few more facts about forest creatures and challenges readers to learn more about all woodland creatures by becoming wildlife detectives.
— Kern County Family Magazine (March 2012)
These authors use the adventures of a curious stray cat to teach the basics of organic gardening. Children, and their favorite adults, will learn about composting, companion plants, helpful nighttime animals, cover crops, city farms, beneficial bugs, and much more, as they follow Molly through the garden. Molly comes to life as she explores every corner of the garden and gets to know the farmers who tend it. The double-page illustrations, dramatic and energetic, contain boxed inserts which tell a sub-story about Molly and her behavior. This multi-layered approach, coupled with the cat’s eye perspective, changing seasons, and parade of colorful critters, will keep children coming back again and again to turn these lively pages. Photographs of the real-life Molly at the end of the book add one more conversation starter to this delightful tome.
— Retailing Insight – Anna Jedrziewski (March 2012)
This is a true story of Molly, a stray cat, who meets and hangs out with a group of organic farmers. In the process the reader/listener learns about the importance of composting and all the helpful insects that share “her” garden. We read about the importance of companion planting and rotating of crops. The reader learns about buying locally and the Farmers’ Market. As the growing season comes to an end we read about seasonal changes and the importance of winter cover crops. Molly even gets to spend the winter inside with her new-found friends. The last pages of the book provide more information for the advanced reader and ideas for further study.
— Izaak Walton League of America – Liz Roy (July 2012)
Since I grow organic vegetables of my own, I can totally appreciate Molly’s Organic Farm , written by Carol L. Malnor. Through the frolics of a homeless cat named, Molly, readers discover what life is like on an organic vegetable farm. I love that the book is based upon a true story of a small orange cat, that one day appeared on a small organic farm in Northern California. The story cleverly weaves in educational details about organic farming, while keeping the child’s interest in the story with the help of Molly’s assorted activities. Readers want to know if Molly will find a home come winter. The lovely watercolor illustrations by Trina L. Hunner bring the cute cat and the story to life. In the back of the book is more in-depth educational information about the farm, info about the seasons of the farm and the true story of Molly the cat, as told by the illustrator who once lived near the farm that Molly calls home.
— Good Reads with Ronna – Debbie Glade (February 2012)
I received the book from Dawn Publications as a review copy and, much like their other offerings, it does not disappoint. The book is based on the true story of a cat named Molly who is welcomed on an organic farm. Told through the seasons and Molly’s experiences, the book uses third person narration to let the reader learn about the organic farm along with Molly.
Molly explores things like fields of greens and the compost pile as the book’s text explains what compost is and how it is used. She watches the helpful insects that live among the growing plants as spring turns to summer and the time soon arrives for the farmer’s market. Some readers may want to note that while the farmers give Molly milk to drink at one point in the story, cow’s milk is not as suitable as traditional wisdom would have one believe. After the passing of pumpkin and harvest season on the farm, Molly starts to worry and feel the cold of winter approaching. Just then, a farmer brings Molly inside and lets her know that “you’ll never need to roam the city streets again. And in the spring you’ll be back on the farm with all your friends.”
I don’t think I can do the level of detail on each page of the book justice, I didn’t even notice until reading the additional information at the back of the book (there are photos of adorable Molly there as well, can you tell I’m a cat person?) that the story featured each of Molly’s five senses in little inset images scattered through the book. Through telling the story of how a stray cat found a safe and loving home, the book also has a lot of information about vegetable farming and the people, insects, and animals that all come into play to bring delicious organic food to our tables.
— Vegbooks – Homa Woodrum (March 20, 2012)
One day a homeless cat walks through a gate and into a new world full of plants, flowers and kind people. She has found an organic farm, and she soon makes herself at home walking down the rows of vegetables, sitting on the compost pile, and dozing under the large golden heads of the sunflowers. The people working at the farm decide to call the cat Molly and they grow very fond of her.
On Farmer’s Market day, Molly meets the shoppers, making new friends who give her treats and attention. The farm serves as a gathering place for people in the community, and Molly is always present to oversee the activities that take place there.
In the fall, the farmers “put the farm to bed,” getting rid of the remains of the old crops, and planting a cover crop to protect the soil. Then the farmers begin to leave, and it looks as if Molly is going to be alone again.
This tale is based on the true story about a homeless cat who finds a home on an organic farm in California. The authors intertwine Molly’s story with the story of the farm year. Young readers will learn a great deal about organic farming as they follow the narrative, and they will enjoy experiencing farm life from a cat’s point of view.
At the back of the book, the authors expand on some of the topics mentioned in the book, and they also tell the story of the real Molly cat.
— Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Review (May 2012)
Molly’s Organic Farm by Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner is the story of when a homeless cat finds her way onto the farm and the world becomes an interesting and exciting place. Though she is a little skittish at first, she soon finds herself comfortable and welcome. When the farmers discover her, they welcome her to the farm, give her a job and even name her Molly! Molly fills her days with lots of interesting activities while learning about life on the farm. In the end the biggest surprise comes with warmth, love and security. Molly has found a home.
“The poor kitty-cat, she has nowhere to sleep and no food to eat. She needs a family. If I were her family I would feed her and let her sleep with me, but we can’t because your allergic, right mom? Molly is a cute orange cat. She peeks at the people but runs away because she is scared. They have big brown boots. She discovers green plants, and stinky fertilizer made of cow poo! Eww, that’s gross. She sees bees, I don’t like them and lady bugs, I love them, and they are so cute. The sunflowers are beautiful. Molly takes a nap under them. She plays in the corn. I don’t like corn; then she yawns and stretches like I do when I wake up. The sprinkler makes her wet when it turns on and she runs away. It’s funny. When the farmer’s wife sells the food, Molly sits in the truck and watches the happy people buy stuff. She loves the pumpkins and kids. She is afraid of the owls that come out at night. Why do they come out at night? Poor kitty, they should let her inside. When it snows the farmer brings her in the house because it is too cold. I like the cat. The book has seasons in it. I like summer.”
The girls and I really enjoyed this book. They love cats, but unfortunately my daughter’s words are true, I am allergic. So the only cats in our house are in literature and movies which encourages the girls to read about them and enjoy them without mommy taking a trip to the hospital. This book is 32 pages long and has lots of educational value but also took a few reads before I was able to get a good re-cap of the story. If you have a child who won’t sit still for a book, this one is probably a little long, but if you have a reader who soaks up every word, the book is well written and flows smoothly and quickly for mom or dad. You won’t cringe at the length of the book when your child requests to read it. The pictures are fitting to the setting and depiction of farm life. While a large majority of the book is green, the illustrator adds splashes of bright and vivid color to bring the pages to life. If you are looking for a fun, educational read about life on the farm, Molly’s Organic Farm by Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner is a great option.
— Reader Views Kids – Madison (age 6) and Mom (May 2012)
What is organic farming and how is it different from other kinds of farming? Molly is a homeless cat that is wandering around. One gusty spring day, she hears some loud noises. “Whoosh! Creak…CRASH!” A gust of wind swings a gate open, and Molly wanders into an organic farm. When she is discovered, the farmers adopt her. All through the growing season, Molly, and youngsters who read this book or have it read to them, learn all about different aspects of organic farming, such as composting, beneficial bugs, companion planting, crop rotation, animal helpers, and community farmers’ markets. But what will happen to Molly when winter arrives with its cold weather and falling snowflakes?
Based on the true story of a little cat which, in 2005, showed up at the small Mountain Bounty Farm in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Nevada City in northern California, spent the spring and summer socializing with the farmers, and then was taken in for the winter by co-author and illustrator Trina L. Hunner who lived adjacent to the farm. This charming book introduces youngsters to the concept of organic farming which controls pests, diseases, and weeds naturally, and uses no artificial chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides.
The educational pages in the back give more information about the various elements of an organic farm displayed in Carol L. Malnor’s text, explain the parts of a plant, discuss the seasonal nature of a plant’s life cycle, show how Molly used her five senses to explore the farm, and give additional ideas and resources related to the topic. It’s a great nature lesson all wrapped up in a fun package!
— Home School Book Review – Wayne Walker (March 2012)
I like that the story line follows an actual account of a cat. I think that it connects children to real farms/experiences. I think that this book will require educators to work through the vocabulary. I think that the text is perfect for 4-5th grade students, but the story is built for 1-3rd–which isn’t all bad, but you can’t just walk away from it either. That being said, you’ve done a nice job offering educators some vocabulary and background information [which many teachers will need to get it right].
— National Gardening Association – Rose Judd Murray (February 2012)
Molly’s Organic Farm is about a cat who doesn’t have a home. Later, farmers find her and name her Molly. She finally feels safe and secure and loves where she lives! I love this book and I think young children will love it, too. You are never too old to hear a story about kitties. This book will definitely attract the animal lovers. I would highly suggest this book to anyone who loves cats.
— Missouri State University – Grace S. – Tween Reviewer (August 2012)
Molly’s Organic Farm by Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner is a delightful story of a little cat who finds herself in the wondrous world of an organic farm! This book helps educate children about what all happens in an organic farm and even tells you the true story of Molly, the cat, at the end of the book. My two children were fascinated by this book, and they loved learning about this organic farm, which is like the many farms where we get our own food from. There is so much to explore in this book. Your children will want to come back to it time and time again. And you will perfectly happy about that!
— Your World Natural – Cara Nitz (February 27, 2012)
Creeping through a patch of chard, Molly peeks from under the farmer’s hat. Where is she going? Who will she meet? Turn the page. Come inside. Join Molly, the homeless orange cat who finds friends, fun, food, shelter on a Sierra Nevada organic farm.
First captivated by its lushly illustrated cover, I revisit Molly’s Organic Farm for its beauty and heartwarming life lessons. Yes, it’s a children’s book (ages four to ten). Even better, it’s a garden book I’m eager to share with everyone.
. . . This is engaging children’s literature a la gardening, nature, and science. Editor and co-publisher Glenn Hovermann says Dawn Publications is “all about connecting children with nature. We choose manuscripts that will inspire, entertain, educate. A book that will be appreciated in the classroom as well as in the trade.”
“Our books straddle fiction and nonfiction,” Hovermann adds. “We present nonfiction in a fictional format for children prekindergarten to fourth grade. It’s important to get their attention and keep it. Something fun. Typically, fiction is fun. Molly, a true story, is fun.”
Molly’s Organic Farm has become a favorite in the Tuckman family. Bailey Tuckman, four-and-a-half, often asks his parents to read it. Four times with dad Ari; eight times with mom Heather; twice with the baby sitter in about two weeks.
“If your kid likes it, you’ll read it ten to fifty times,” says Ari Tuckman. A parent who reads the same books over and over, this dad appreciates Molly’s humor and the rhyme inserts. “It’s wise to include something clever to hold the parent’s interest through those re-readings,” Tuckman notes. One box insert, for example, shows Molly poised to catch a garden pest — “A pouncing cat means no more rat.”
“Bailey enjoys the ideas. He remembers well what’s going on in the story,” Tuckman tells. “He likes that Molly found a home at the farm and in a farmer’s house. He likes to know that things are going well.”
“Bailey’s big into ‘why’,” Tuckman adds. “He asks ‘Why are some bugs good and others bad? Why are the lady bugs good and the aphid bad? Why are these bugs pests; those bugs helpful?’ ”
Reading well-crafted books is “a springboard to get your kids thinking and talking about a topic,” says Tuckman. Molly sparks discussion about “how things are complicated and connected. The bad bugs kill or weaken the plants. The good bugs eat the pests.”
— National Gardening Association – Charlotte Kidd (March 22, 2012)
Two authors draw on their Nevada County experiences and love of organic farming in their new book, Molly’s Organic Farm. The book, which is by Carol L. Malnor and Trina L. Hunner and illustrated by Hunner, begins with Molly the cat who becomes an important part of an organic farm. Based on a true story, Molly touches children’s hearts while introducing them to plants and the key elements of growing food organically.
— Nevada City Advocate (March 2012)
Just as in this story, an organic farm really is an interesting and exciting place to be. On our Farm Event Days the children who visit learn a lot and have a blast. This delightful book introduces children to important natural relationships. How nice to have an introduction to organic farming that is engaging, accurate and fun!
— M. Wali and Jabrila Via, co-owners of Winter Green Farm, Oregon, with a 600-member CSA (September 2011)