On the Busy Old Ranch
Bluestem Books / 25 May 2023

On the Busy Old RanchWritten by Katelyn Toney, Illustrated by Rebecca AllenPublished by Bluestem BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$20.00 ISBN 9781738802708 Katelyn Toney lives the hectic farmer/rancher lifestyle near Tompkins in southwest Saskatchewan with her husband and four children, and when she noted a lack of children’s books that depict the family’s unique way of life, she wrote one. The illustrated board book, On the Busy Old Ranch, is a 1-10 counting book with full-bleed illustrations by Rebecca Allen, rhyming stanzas, and child-friendly but apt portrayals of diverse ranch families’ chore-filled daily life. In a CTV Regina television interview, Toney said she’d been reading to her kids “every day for the past 15 years,” and noted that there were “not a lot of books showcasing the life we live out here raising cattle on the prairies”. She said that there are many farm and rodeo-themed kids’ books, but what she found “really didn’t depict the lifestyle” she and her family experience. The first page spread sets the book’s tone and two-stanza, rhyming style: On the busy old ranch by the barn in the sun worked a big mama cowgirl and her little cowgirl one. “Feed,” said the mama. “I feed,”…