Farmer Phil seems to have it all figured out. When Eden and her father move to the country to live on a farm, they're dismayed by the rowed crops, cooped up chickens, and pest problems. Farmer Phil shows them how to work with nature to solve their problems, and together their farms thrive.
This children's book is a great way to introduce kids to the core concept of permaculture - that working with nature can provide more fruitful and sustainable solutions. Illustrated by Victor Guiza, the book is one of the only permaculture children's books in print, and even has a section at the back with noteworthy keywords, like 'swales' and 'food forest'.
I have the digital version of this book. The illustrations are a little too "computer graphic-y" for my artistic tastes. Characters and plants and animals seem to be "pasted" on the background, and not everything seems to be the same degree of detail and so it sort of clashes. I found this distracting. On the other hand, my three-year old son enjoyed the book, and the illustrations didn't seem to damper his enjoyment or his learning from this book.
The book follows little Eden and her family as they move from the city out to the country to fulfill their dream of being farmers. But, farming ends up not being nearly as fun or easy as they thought: there's pests in their apples and the farm looks more like a factory than a farm. Then, one day, Eden peers though a fence to see her neighbor, Phil, seems to be farming in much easier, much more beautiful way. Eden comes to find the that the way he's managing land is called permaculture. His land has herb spirals, hugelkulture, a wofati-like house, animals integrated into the orchard, wind mills, water mills, solar power, mandala garden beds, and more I probably missed. Little Eden then goes and tells her dad about Farmer Phil, and they then tranform their property into a permaculture paradise.
It's a sweet story that rather passes over the hard work that permaculture is, especially when one is starting out. But, it is a children's book, and the happy ending is happy, and children learn the difference between a factory farm and a permaculture farm, and they get to see that integrating plants and animals and making the best use of one's resources, makes for a much healthier, happier, and productive farm.
All in all, it's a great book for kids, and a nice introduction into permaculture for them.
I appreciate that the book shows the stark dichotomy of a "farm" and a permaculture garden.
The art style isn't to my taste, but it does still effectively convey some permaculture tropes in detail; keyhole gardens, happy bees, green-roof structures, and mixed-animal paddocks.
My main gripe is with the text of the book. The words, while given cadence and rhyme, are a bit stilted, and seem to skip what I consider some of the more interesting bits of Permaculture.
The main benefit of the book is in the pictures, and the questions they prompt when I read it to my son. He enjoys it, and over the last couple of years will go through phases where this book is requested every night for a week.