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“In a quiet valley, where the river waters entice peaceful thoughts and tranquil dreams, resided a home to the Jefferies family and their devoted companions.” So begins author Amanda Midkiff’s delightful middle grade novel about life on Riverside Farm where Farmer Jack, his ailing wife Mary, and a medley of opinionated, idiosyncratic, daring, loving – and talking! – farm animals and other creatures make their home. 

Midkiff expertly employs dialogue to bring to life the complex relationships between the creatures: Oscar and Greta the hogs, Bob the Clydesdale, Milly the terrier, Harriet the goose, Pete and Penelope the peacocks, Charlie the pond turtle, Lilly the ladybug and Andy the ant. 

When news of a whopper of an approaching storm reaches the inhabitants of Riverside Farm, Farmer Jack, along with members of his extended family, sets in motion a plan to protect the animals and the property from harm. Each of the animals has a different view on the imminent catastrophe and each makes decisions about how to handle the storm and problems that arise from it. Along the way they discover many life lessons about trusting Farmer Jack and the weather warning, the relationship between confidence and humility, the moral necessity of accepting others who are different from ourselves, and the urgent need for preparedness and prevention. 

‎Illustrator Zarlasht Khan’s endearing, tender pictures complement Midkiff’s skillful blend of imagination, love story, fast-paced adventures and humor. Where the Crops Never Fail is sure to entertain young readers while teaching them positive ways to deal with life’s storms. (Argyle Fox Publishing)

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