Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 3, 2017

Book Giveaway – Why Did the Farmer Cross the Road? – Brooke Herter James

Congratulations to author Brooke Herter James on her new book WHY DID THE FARMER CROSS THE ROAD? She has agreed to participate in our book giveaway. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.



Farmer would just like to sleep in but his early morning slumbers are disturbed by his faithful companion, Donkey. And Donkey isn’t there to bid Farmer a good morning. As it turns out, the prospect of fun and food has lured the farm’s livestock to a local fair. Now it’s up to Farmer and Donkey to go round up the wayward critters before they can get into too much trouble. Or is it too late? Young readers will laugh out loud at the antics of the farmer’s chickens, goats, pigs, and one anxious cow in this quirky take on the traditional knock-knock jokes.

“PreS-Gr 2 James puts a new spin on the timeless joke in her first picture book… This new slant on a timeless joke will fit into any barnyard-related storytime. A fun addition.”  –School Library Journal


Why Did the Farmer Cross the Road? began its long journey from idea to manuscript to published book the day my son Peter looked up from the kitchen table and reported that our donkey, Sarah Ruth, was standing at the back door.

Of course, if you live on a farm long enough, finding animals in unexpected places doing unexpected things is not unusual. Pigs do like to wander across town now and again and goats have a admirable talent for finding all things tasty. But our sweet donkey, standing so politely on the back stoop…well, how could that not turn into a story?

Like all manuscripts, this one evolved! The very first draft had the barnyard animals heading downtown to a sidewalk sale at which the goats ate all the hats and ended up in the hospital.  I believe it was my agent, Edite Kroll, who gently suggested a bunch of sick goats might not make for the best picture book.

But Edite did like the quirkiness of the story, so the revisions began! Happily, many months later, Sleeping Bear Press decided to take a chance on Why Did the Farmer Cross the Road?

I am enormously grateful to all those who helped shape this tale into the picture book that it has become. That list includes my family and friends; my wise agent, Edite Kroll; my wonderful team at Sleeping Bear Press, editor Barb McNally and publicist Tara Lehman. Finally, I am thankful for the very talented Mike Herrod, whose illustrations grew the story into something I couldn’t have imagined.


Brooke Herter James won her first creative writing award in eighth grade. Then she did a bunch of other things like college, public health nursing, and raising a family. Now she’s writing again. She lives in a very old house in Vermont with her husband and two donkeys, Sarah Ruth and Esther. (Actually, the donkeys live in the barn.) She wishes her kids still lived there, but they stopped being kids and moved out. She is an active member of SCBWI, a student of the Gotham Writers Workshop, and a graduate of the Yale Writers’ Conference. This is her very first picture book.

Thank you Brooke for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. Wishing you the best with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congrats, Brooke! The book sounds adorable. My son would be thrilled if your donkey showed up at our kitchen door.


    • I think that could be arranged. Where do you live? Sarah Ruth (the donkey) is always up for a road trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Delightful! Of course they should go to the fair! I am sure kids will love this Brooke.


    • I always felt kind of sorry for the 4H animals at our county fair. They had to be so well-behaved. As far as I know, they never got to wander off for cotton candy or a ride on the ferris wheel.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My nephew has a small “hobby” farm. HIs kids would love this!


    • Our hobby farm was how this story came to be. Lots of good story material on a farm!


  4. Love the idea. Congrats on your first book!


    • It only took 60 years, but who’s counting!


  5. Sounds crazy cute. I do want to know why he did cross the road. Or was it the chicken?


  6. This looks really cute! Congratulations.


  7. I have several grandkids who would love this book. Shared on FB and twitter. thanks.


    • Thank you for sharing!


  8. Congratulations on your debut with what looks to be such a humorous story. Kids will love this!


    • I hope so! I have my first ever book reading this weekend…hope some kids show up!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a fun book for teachers connecting it with the farm unit. The farm bureau should use this book for young farmers going into the kindergarten-secondgrade classrooms, talking about farming. What a great book. Congratulations!


    • This sounds like a fun-filled book for many ages!


    • That is a great idea!


  10. Cute watercolors! I like the colors! Thank you for the contest!


    • I was so nervous about the direction that the unknown artist would take the story. I, like you, love what he did.


  11. Looks very entertaining. Great twist on an old joke!


  12. What a fun story of your publishing journey. Congratulations. The book sounds adorable.


  13. Congratulations on the publication of your first book! What a great title. It absolutely makes us want to discover the answer. 🙂




  15. What a cute book! Wishing you all the best!


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