Despite the title, this is not a version of the familiar song. In Judi Barrett's Old MacDonald Had an Apartment House, the titular character is the super of a building. When his wife's tomato plant droops due to lack of sunlight in their tiny kitchen, Old MacDonald takes it upon himself to chop down the hedge blocking the light. Encouraged by the results of his ingenuity, the super decides the courtyard would be better as a vegetable garden. As tenants begin to move out, he takes over their apartments for gardens one by one so that the remaining residents find sweet potato vines in their faucets hear cows mooing through the walls. A much as I would personally love to have a flock of chickens, I think I will leave Old MacDonald's methods to the imagination of picture book creators and stick to the farmer's market. As the hilarity continues, the owner of the building finally shows up, and is understandably upset. However, this being a children's book, slum landlords are always redeemable and the urban farm is saved, so that even city dwellers can now have fresh produce in winter.
In light of the recent urban farming movement, this book, originally written in 1969, takes on a whole new relevancy. It was fun to use this book as a way to discuss where the food we buy comes from and how we can grow our own food without upsetting our neighbors. As as you can see from the cover, there's a bit of a nod to the American Gothic, as well.
Big Kid says: That is crazy. I don't want a cow in my apartment!