Publisher: Promontory Press (2015)
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Ten-year-old Patti is a curious child who lives on a farm and longs for a horse. She also longs for her family to recognize that she’s growing up and isn’t a baby girl anymore.

Patti is wakened on the morning of her tenth birthday to a ruckus in the barn. It turns out that a mink has snuck into the chicken coop. Patti immediately heads outside to help her dad and brother save the chickens and their baby chicks. Things don’t go quite right, but one chick is saved. Patti’s dad offers her the job of nursing it back to health. On the way back to the house, her parents and brother surprise her with a shiny silver and blue bicycle for her birthday. It isn’t the horse she longs for, but Silver is a wonderful present and it’s a big bike for her to grow into. And that everything is not perfect, nor does everything work out just right is the beauty of Gardam’s story.

Patti spends her tenth year working hard to prove to her family that she is growing up. On her trusty bike,  Patti sets out on a series of adventures filled with discoveries that will delight any young person reading this book. Patti longs for her family to see her as growing up and able to pull her own weight around the farm. She wants to make a good impression as someone her family can count on and who will help out.

Each chapter in this book is a snapshot of young Patti’s life.  Through the ups and downs of everyday life, we learn more about Patti and her family life on the farm. Patti works hard doing her chores around the farm, learning new skills like milking the cow and tapping trees for maple syrup. She is a curious and observant child and continually surprises her family with her knowledge and perseverance.

Whether it’s working hard to put out a fire in the hay-field or serving dinner to the threshers, Patti proves that she can be counted on. She surprises her family when she trains Chicky for the Fall Fair and with her strength under pressure when her brother Jamie is hurt.  Patti impresses them with her level-headedness when she’s caught in a blizzard and deals with a bully.

Patti discovers growing up isn’t easy and grown ups don’t always have the right answers. Everything continuously fascinates her: learning about bees, driving a tractor,  trying to figure out how grownups think, and understanding the strange things they say and do.

Through a series of adventures that will entertain and delight young readers, Patti learns that people can be very different from each other and live very different lifestyles from her family’s. Patti also discovers she is stronger and smarter than she thinks and that she can make a difference in the lives of those around her. Most importantly, she learns that she belongs to a loving and supportive family that even includes her big brother.

Gardam’s Life On The Farm will captivate young readers with its authentic voice and earnestness. Patti’s journey is filled with the curiosity, the adventures, and everyday delights that Gardam herself experienced as a child growing up in rural Ontario, Canada.