Hey, Hey, Hay!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday! Maybe you’ve been driving past freshly cut farm fields with scattered bales dotting the golden stubble. Wouldn’t you like to know how those bales are so neatly cut and rolled? Here’s your chance to find out in a tale of farm and family.


Title: Hey, Hey, Hay! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them

Written by: Christy Mihaly

Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Holiday House, 2018

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes/topics: farming, harvest, family

On a cold and wintry day,
I love to break out bales of hay.

The hay smells fresh, like summer sun.
I feed my horses, one by one.

Listen and I’ll tell the tale
Of storing summer in a bale.

Brief synopsis (from barnesandnoble.com)
A girl tells the tale of making hay as Mom uses a mower for mowing grass, then a tedder for aerating the grass, and eventually a baler. Told in rhyme and illustrated with fabulous art by JOE CEPEDA, each part of the process is a celebration of summer, farming, and the mother-daughter relationship. Back matter includes a glossary.

Activities and Resources:
Compare farm machinery to other machinery you’re familiar with.
Investigate: How did people bale hay prior to machinery?
Write/discuss: What kind of jobs do you and your family do together?
Compare and contrast other kinds of farms. (Ranches, poultry farms, mink farms, fish farms, sheep farms, ant farms )
Connect: What job would you like to do on a farm? Why?

Why I like this book:
Golden fields scattered with baled hay is one of my very favorite scenes in the world. There’s something about it that draws me in. HEY, HEY, HAY is the story of those bundles of hay, a part of life many kids aren’t familiar with even if they live in farm country. On a recent drive across the plains, I noticed the “windrows” (a new vocabulary word for me) just because I had read this children’s book.

Gender equality reigns on the farm as smooth rhymes carry us through the process of haying. This is a great story time book. The cover illustration is irresistible, and interior spreads offer varying angles of view. Back matter includes a glossary and recipe.

For rhyming writers this is a great mentor text for nonfiction content and exploring page breaks.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.

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