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Children's Fiction Farm Animals

Old MacDonald Had Her Farm

by (author) JonArno Lawson

illustrated by Tina Holdcroft

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2012
Farm Animals, Nursery Rhymes, Cows
Recommended Age
4 to 7
Recommended Grade
p to 2
Recommended Reading age
4 to 7
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2012
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.


Old MacDonald had a farm like you’ve never seen before!

With a nod to the familiar refrain E-I-E-I-O, a day on this farm is framed by the vowels A-E-I-O-U—and sometimes Y.

Old MacDonald appears in an explosion of color and, starting with the letter A, proceeds to “saw barn planks, stack sacks, crank cranks, and whack gnats.” The day progresses as every vowel is featured in action-packed bursts of lively text. Old MacDonald has devised a myriad of tools to make her job if not easier, then a lot more fun.

In chaotic scenes filled with pulleys, catapults, and flying machines, the farm becomes the background for a circus-like riot of fantastic contraptions.

With dozens of details to discover, and hilarious tongue-twisting text, this book is destined to become a favorite.

About the authors

Born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised nearby in Dundas, JonArno Lawson's most formative experiences as a child occurred in Florida which he visited for an extended stay at the age of eight. Happy to be missing almost an entire year of school, he filled his days at the beach digging holes and collecting shells and coconuts, travelling in glass-bottomed boats and touring nature parks that featured free-roaming monkeys and parrots. He wore a ship captain's hat at all times, and a green pouch in which he kept dozens of ticket stubs, a musket ball, brass souvenir coins that bore the faces of various American presidents, and other treasures which he hoards to this day. JonArno is a two-time winner of the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Children's Poetry, for Black Stars in a White Night Sky in 2007 and again in 2009 for A Voweller's Bestiary. In 2011 his poetry collection Think Again was short-listed for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award. JonArno lives in Toronto with his wife Amy Freedman and his children Sophie, Ashey and Joseph, all of whom assist the author with phrases, topics and sometimes even complete lines for use in his poems.

JonArno Lawson's profile page

Tina Holdcroft is the illustrator of dozens of picture books including Old MacDonald Had Her Farm and What the Snakes Wrote. When she isn't out sailing the world, she lives in Toronto.

Tina Holdcroft's profile page


  • Joint winner, Recommended Reads List, Canadian Toy Testing Council
  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

“Readers will laugh as their tongues are tied, and will delight in being challenged by new words and ways of describing things.”
—Quill & Quire, 08/12

Quill & Quire

“It’s a wonderful read aloud, sing aloud, slow down and look around . . . and twist your tongue around the twisters kind of book.”
—, 11/11/12

“A brilliant reinvention of an old favorite. Lawson and Holdcroft have created a masterpiece of color and rhyme that young children will enjoy greedily. Highly Recommended.”
—CM Reviews, 02/13

CM Reviews

“A surefire shot at fun with language.”
—Sal’s Fiction Addiction, 09/02/12

Sal's Fiction Addiction

“Zany, exuberantly colored pictures illustrate each verse in a double-page spread.”
—Quebec Library Association, August, 2013n

Quebec Library Association

“Brilliant work by both author and illustrator results in a fun-filled must-have book for school and public library shelves.”
—Canadian Children’s Book News, 01/13

Canadian Children's Book News

Other titles by JonArno Lawson

Other titles by Tina Holdcroft