Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Old Mikamba Had a Farm” as Want to Read:
Old Mikamba Had a Farm
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Old Mikamba Had a Farm

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  279 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
This fabulous version of the classic nursery song “Old MacDonald” introduces children to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds. It is beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora, with her signature collage-style artwork.
Old Mikamba had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had . . . a giraffe, a baboon, and an elephant! Meet Old Mikamba, wh
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 31st 2013 by Nancy Paulsen Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Old Mikamba Had a Farm, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Old Mikamba Had a Farm

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 24, 2017 Matt rated it really liked it
Imagine the African Sahara and that version of Old MacDonald. Going through the number of animals and their sounds, which goes on and on. Neo was not sure if the sounds really were right... since he has never heard of a grunting hippo!
Apr 10, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Old Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel Isadora is a unique rendition of the song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" set in an African game park and featuring fourteen wild animals and their sounds.

Isadora's illustrations were done with oil paints, printed paper, palette paper, ink, and pencil. Her bright collage artwork should attract readers and listeners with some varied perspectives and very effective portrayal of animal movement. Among the animals shown are baboons, elephants, zebra, cheetahs, dassies, wa
Karen Witzler
May 27, 2015 Karen Witzler rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-books
Old Mikamba is Old MacDonald on an African game preserve. Some unexpected animals such as dassie (rock hyrax) and springbok are included. Picture book for toddlers. I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for scenes of an actual farm in an African setting.
Very cute! Might be fun to use during an Africa or Jungle/Savannah themed storytime.
Lisa Lathrop
Apr 21, 2015 Lisa Lathrop rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
1) This the Text to Text African version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm. It would be such a fun read-aloud with any group of young elementary students! In this case, old Mikamba describes his hippo, giraffe, elephant, springbok and other African animals and the sounds they make in the rhythmic pattern of our English version of Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

2) Old Mikamba Had A Farm has the same familiar rhythmic pattern as does our Old MacDonald rhyming song and also illustrates some of the same animals
Apr 27, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it
Shelves: story-time, africa
Old Mikamba is a farmer just like old MacDonald. But on this farm he has a lion, an elephant, a baboon, an ostrich, and more! Whether it's a cheetah who goes grrr-grrr here or a a warthog who goes snort-snort there, this is a great book to use with a tutee or in a story-time, with a tune everyone knows, a blend of familiar and unfamiliar words and sounds, and eye-catching illustrations. The second grader I was working with gave it four stars.
Apr 23, 2016 A rated it it was ok
A rewrite of Old MacDonald. Why not just write a new song?
Feb 17, 2017 Alison rated it liked it
This is a version of Old "McDonald" that takes place in Africa. Instead of farm animals, it uses animals found on the African savanna. My class learned a few new animal names like dassie and springbok.
Mar 06, 2015 Tracey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, 2015
picture book (that can be sung). I read this to a mixed grade class, using a helper to hold the book and myself playing the guitar--surprisingly (to me at least), the kids LOVED singing along (even if we kept saying McDonald instead of Mikamba). We did talk about each of the different animals on each page a bit so we could agree on what they might sound like, etc., but we went through all 13 verses, LOUDLY and appreciatively. A super big hit with the younger grades (1st through 4th?) and even so ...more
Sami Wilson
Apr 27, 2014 Sami Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Old Mikamba had a farm is very similar to the American version of Old McDonald had a farm but the story was about jungle animals instead of farm animals. I enjoyed reading this book and I think that it would be a good book to read to young children kindergarten age or younger and explain to them that this is similar to Old McDonald but describes a different culture and continue talking about different cultures. It allows for the children to learn about new cultures and ask any questions they mig ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
As she has done with many traditional tales, the author/illustrator sets the familiar "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" somewhere in Africa. This decision allows readers to encounter 14 different animal species, many of whom are the endangered list. Young readers will delight in the sounds made by a baboon, a flat lizard, a dassie, and a warthog, among others, and certainly want to sing along as all manner of animals fill Old Mikamba's farm. The collage illustrations, created with oil paints, printed p ...more
Age: Toddler-Kindergarten
Animals: Baboon, elephant, zebra, cheetah, dassie, warthog, hippo,giraffe, lizard, springbok, parrot, ostrich, rhino, lion
Culture: Africa

A fantastic addition to the Old MacDonald collection, this picture book explores the animals of the Sahara with sublime variety. The animal noises would be so much fun for a preschool audience to imitate. I am particularly fond of the variety of media art used and the eclectic borders that surround each new animal. AND in the back, Isad
Nov 09, 2013 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-online
I was a little disappointed with this book. It is a new version of the "Old MacDonald" Song based on African animals, but I expected more from this children's book. The animal sounds destroy the rhythm and flow of the song and frankly, some of these animals do not make a particular sound, apart from what the book suggests. (I have never heard a giraffe make any sort of sound.) It is however, a different approach to introducing children to animals from around the world and the illustrations are u ...more
Esther Moss
Interest level: 3-5 years
Reading level: not available, probably somewhere around a level D for F&P

Genre: traditional literature - As she does with many books, author Rachel Isadora has taken a classic story (the song Old McDonald) and put it in the setting of rural Africa.

Mentor traits:
Voice: Since this book is very rhythmic and can be sung, I would use it to demonstrate voice and how a book can be a poem.

Integration: I would use this book with young or struggling readers. I think it would
Gemma Duling
Personal Reaction:
I liked the fact that this book was a spin off of Old Macdonald because it introduced different animals that other children may not be familiar with. It had the same rhythm that Old Macdonald had and was as catchy and as fun for children.

I would use this book as enjoyment for children because they would be able to act out the animal noises. Instead of farm animals that we are used to, this book uses animals that are not commonly found in the United States. It would intr
Nov 25, 2013 Summer rated it really liked it
Cute little multicultural adaptation of "Old MacDonald Had A Farm" with African animals instead of domestic ones... and therein lies my only real issue with the book - how is Mikamba able to have a farm of undomesticated animals like zebras and baboons? It kind of defeats one of the main points of the original song itself. But that's the adult in me overthinking things, maybe. Nevertheless, I do like the way it introduces kids to exotic animals and the noises they make in song that is familiar t ...more
Take Old MacDonald and move him to Africa and you have this book. Various animals native to the continent of Africa are featured and a sound is attributed to each. Following the story is a two page spread that gives readers facts about each of the animals that appeared in text as well as the author's motivation for writing this version of the classic children's song.

Oil paints, printed/palette paper, ink and pencil were all used to create the artwork. This is a great read aloud, but the artwork
Great Books
Jan 13, 2014 Great Books rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, birth-4
Journey to Africa and experience farm life in a different way with this new interpretation of Old MacDonald. In this version, children are introduced to a menagerie of African animals and their sounds, beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Rachel Isadora. Less familiar animals like baboons, dassies, warthogs, and springboks are featured with more familiar ones like lizards, rhinos, and lions. There are sounds for each animal to add to the E-I-E-I-O of it all. The final pages include ...more
Michal Hope
Aug 04, 2014 Michal Hope rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finn-books
A wonderful new alternative for Old McDonald Had a Farm! This artfully pleasing picture book takes the old version and puts an African spin on it. The artwork is beautiful with many textures and accurate depictions of each animal on the farm. Of course, there are not just the traditional animals associated with Africa. There is a glossary at the end which tells you more about each animal. My 4yo was very interested in the ones he did not recognize so we spent time going through the glossary. Thi ...more
Nov 13, 2013 Rachael rated it liked it
Did you know that a zebra makes a whinny sound? Do you know what a Dassie is? Old Mikamba Had a Farm is an African animal version of the classic song 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm.' The collage style illustrations are beautifully done and there is plenty of white space on every page, making it a great group read aloud. On the last pages of the story there are descriptions for every animal included in the book. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to share it in my preschool storytimes!
Jan 10, 2014 Anne rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite of Isadora's nursery rhyme retellings set in Africa. It does a great job of showing kids that "farms" can contain more than pigs and cows, and there are many types of farms. There are some great, lesser known (at least in America) animals included with wonderful sound effects to be made. A winner!

My only quibble is that it goes on a bit long. I plan to use it in my toddler storytime on farms next week and I will shorten it. But I still think it's outstanding!
Alyssa Adams
old Mikamba had a farm is a new retelling on a song most people have sung to their kids. We are introduced to new animals and their noises as we make our way through the farm. It will be difficult not to sing along with this wonderful book and the artwork is so unique for the tale it captures.

Oil paints, printed paper, palette paper, ink and pencil are used to bring this story to life. my favorite is the elephant, what is yours?
Dec 20, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
A refreshing twist on an old favorite. Those looking for stories representing different cultures will eat this up. I used this in a Toddler storytime and many of the adults were happy to see this version (all three of our copies were checked out afterwards which never happens). I would use this again but with older kids. There are A LOT of animals represented on Old Mikamba's farm and I had to skip a few when I saw the younger ones squirming a bit. A winner, nonetheless.
Gianna Pesce
This book was a remake of "Old McDonald Had a farm" but in an African setting. I thought that this book was cute and that it is a good book for teaching children about all of the different kinds of wild animals that we do not usually see on a regular basis. The illustrations were fun and the way that the text was set up was neat. Overall, this book is great for learning and i would recommend it to anyone teaching young children about animals.
What a great version of "Old MacDonald"! It takes place in Africa, where there is a *game* farm, and the list of animals is fun and interesting. I love Rachel Isadora's illustrations in her books, and this one does not disappoint. If there is any complaint, it is that the book is longer than you might expect, but that just makes it better, especially when you are in the car and you can make a game out of trying to remember all the animals to sing about. :)
Nov 30, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
What a great addition to the Old MacDonald genre! The illustrations done in oil paints, paper, ink and pencil are simply delightful to the eye. There is so much color and visual excitement in the illustrations! Kids will learn unique vocabulary words like trill, bleat, and bellow when they sing along with the familiar tune. I wish the book had more of a story line with beginning and ending spreads, but it is still a book that children of all ages will enjoy.
Feb 25, 2014 Katy rated it it was amazing
a fun twist to Old McDonald. Loved the artwork in this one. Gorgeous.

The song gets a little long, especially on the 15th read through in a single setting, but I am not sure that is totally fair to hold against the book. I would agree with others that the animal sounds don't always work as smoothly as I would like, but overall I was really impressed with the animals Isadora was able to present.

Definitely worth checking out.
Robin Rousu
Nov 15, 2013 Robin Rousu rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Not sure the animal sounds are all entirely scientifically accurate, but a very well done version of the classic song with an interesting setting and her usual wonderful illustrations. [What does he grow on the farm, though? Aren't their conflicts with the wildlife over the crops and livestock? How could he make a living like that? Or is this a game ranch, where they slaughter the zebras for meat and such? Anyhoo...]
The Library Lady
Feb 05, 2014 The Library Lady rated it really liked it
I have read this book two days running at story times for the 2 and up crowd and we have had a splendid time with it. There are a lot of animals, and for my wigglers today I skipped a few, but they loved making animal noises, the art is fabulous, and of course everyone knew the tune.
And I am now going to buy an extra copy for my "reading room" collection because it's a story time keeper!
If I were to use this in storytime I'd likely shorten it, which is really my only complaint. I love the update to this familiar song, including its accurate depiction of African plains animals, familiar and unfamiliar. I like the variety of methods used in the illustrations as well. They add a lot of texture while maintaining a good amount of white space on each page.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Deep in the Sahara
  • Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía Una Llamita
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • I Spy on the Farm
  • Ten Orange Pumpkins: A Counting Book
  • Who Put the Cookies in the Cookie Jar?
  • Barnyard Banter
  • Tiptoe Joe
  • The Things I Can Do
  • Say Hello Like This!
  • Following Papa's Song
  • Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
  • Tap Tap Boom Boom
  • Peck, Peck, Peck
  • Hey, Duck!
  • Swim, Duck, Swim!
  • Hickory Dickory Dog
  • Worms for Lunch?
Rachel Isadora is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. She has written children's books on multiple topics including ballet, life in America and Africa, and has illustrated several Brother Grimm tales in an African setting. She is most well-known for her Caldecott Honor Award book "Ben's Trumpet". She was a ballet dancer before she became an illustrator and children's writer.
More about Rachel Isadora...

Share This Book