Author: Doreen Cronin

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

Have you ever wondered what animals think? When Farmer Brown’s cows get a typewriter, he finds out what they are thinking, and he is not happy about it. Will the typewritten letters help the cows, hens and ducks get what they want?

Before, During and After Reading

Phonological Awareness

Create nonsense words. After you read the title, repeat the words “click” and “clack” with your child.  Help your child think of nonsense words that are made by replacing the ‘c’ sound of each word in click and clack. You can say the first word, such as “blick”, and have your child say “black”, or you could say a letter sound and let your child replace the ‘c’ with the letter you give. For example, you could say, “what would my new words be if I took the /c/ sound away from “click” “clack” and put the /f/ sound in instead?” (flick, flack)

Oral Language

Introduce new vocabulary. While this is an entertaining story that young children love, it also has several unusual words. For example, the story focuses around a typewriter. Does your child know what that is? Other words you may need to explain are: impossible, strike, impatient, furious, sincerely, demand, neutral, ultimatum, emergency, snoop, and exchange. As you come across new words, you can pause and ask your child to tell you what the word means. If he is not able to give you an approximate definition, you can explain it before continuing to read. One tip to help you remember to introduce vocabulary is to use a children’s dictionary to write simple definitions for new words on sticky notes.  Place the sticky notes on the pages where the new words appear to remind you to talk about them and to give you simple definitions to use.  

Read between the lines. Toward the end of the book, Farmer Brown expected the duck to bring him back to typewriter. Instead, the farmer got another note! What happened? Who gave him the note?  Ask your child to look at the pictures on that page to find out the answer.  

Letter Knowledge

Point out words on the notes left by the animals. Give your child a pointer (it can be something as simple as a popsicle stick). When you come to a page with a note, read the note very slowly and ask your child to point to each word as you read. You can explain that each word is separated by a space.  

Beginning Writing

Write a letter. Ask your child to think of an animal, maybe a family pet or an animal from the zoo or a farm. Once your child has decided on an animal, have your child think about what demands that animal would have. Your child can draw a picture of the object(s) demanded and he can help you write, or even type, a letter on the animal’s behalf.


Find more Beginning Writing activities and recommended books for four-year-olds.