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Old Mikamba Had a Farm
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Old Mikamba Had a Farm

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  71 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, who
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Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 31st 2013 by Nancy Paulsen Books
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Early Bird by Toni YulyDuck, Duck, Moose! by Sudipta Bardhan-QuallenOld Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel IsadoraLarry & Family by Victoria   AndersonThumpy Feet by Betsy Lewin
New Read-Alouds
3rd out of 16 books — 5 voters
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books about kids of colour
65th out of 124 books — 12 voters


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Community Reviews

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David
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
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Karen Witzler
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.
Annelise
I'd give this more stars if the author specified where Old Mikamba specifically is. It's already an imaginative leap that he has animals from all over Africa on one farm, in order to fit an overview of the continent's wonderfully diverse species into a variation of this classic kids' song. Mikamba himself deserves an identity. Like all the inhabited continents, Africa is huge and its countries, regions and cultures vary widely. When we don't recognize that, we do the kids we read this to a disse ...more
Tracey
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
Lisa Lathrop
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
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Sami Wilson
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
Barbara
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
Michal Hope
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
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.

Purpose:
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
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Ellen
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.
Katy
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.
RC
Old Mikamba Had a Farm is a delightful rendition of the traditional favorite. This is the story of a farmer on an African game farm and the animals traditional found on the plains of Africa. Children will learn these animals and the sounds they make. There is also information in the back of the book about each animal.

Old Mikamba promotes vocabulary, phonological awareness and print awareness.
Leah Wener-Fligner
Loved the Old McDonald subversion and the cool collage illustrations. Nitpicky: Lions and many of the other examples on Old Mikamba's farm are not usually considered farm animals that I know of, other than ostriches which I understand are like the tastiest beef ever and way more sustainable than raising cattle.
Samantha
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
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Heila
These illustrations are AMAZING. I loved them. They seem to dance and shine. Riffing on the classic "Old MacDonald" song, I wasn't sure how successful an African version would - but it worked. This book has other animals that are native to parts of Africa instead of the usual barnyard ones.
Sherry Thornberry
The imagery in this book showed great imagination. Texture was used a lot in the composition of the images and I feel the illustrator did this because the book suggests an African setting and when someone thinks of Africa, they think of its richness and rough edges and smooth edges.
Kathryn
More correctly, Old Mikamba has a game reserve but that doesn't quite fit the song, does it?

Gorgeous illustrations and a great cast of African animals make this a winner, though it does go on a bit long for my taste and a few of the animal sounds don't fit the song/cadence very well.
Laura
An African spin on Old McDonald, this beautiful version features African animals with grrrs and trills. Sure to be a hit with the preschool set! The final pages of the book include brief information about each animal featured in the song.
Maggie
ALA Notable Book 2014

really fun retelling of "Old Macdonald" set in Africa instead! Definitely incorporating this one into an African-themed story time, lots of fun animal noises for kids to sing and squawk along with.
Melissa
Great for introducing children to animals they might not be familiar with and for letting them get creative with animal noises. We had a blast with this in story time, although it was a little long for my younger listeners.
pati
A twist on the traditional Old MacDonald, both with the animal set and definition of farm; nonetheless excellent introduction to African animals. The artwork is reminiscent of Eric Carle, very clever to say the least!
Anne
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!
Vicki
A African plains version of the traditional Old MacDonald hits the mark with new vocabulary, great illustrations with neat paper touches, and a book that could be sung aloud.
Ashley Enlow
A wonderful twist on Old McDonald's had a farm! Also has information on the animals in the story. Such a great idea to get children interested in other places and animals!
Becky Kondritz
This is African version of our Mid-Western "Old MacDonald." Love the newsprint elephants and rhinos as well as print fabric giraffes as part of the illustrations.
Paula
The inhabitants of Old Makimba's farm in Africa, including a baboon, an elephant, and a lion, are described, verse by verse. Includes facts about African animals.
Summer
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
Wendy
Jun 24, 2014 Wendy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: karla
International theme
Old MacDonald takes on a new country and set of animals. The setting is Africa and the animals are zebras,elephants, lions etc.
Aprils
I enjoyed the collage art and the way fabric patterns were used. I thought the song went on too long with no real conclusion or point.
Kelsey
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
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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.
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