20 Prairie Adventures at Arrow S Ranch


22 pages
ISBN 1-895292-88-3






Photos by Ted Czarnecki and Barb Degelman
Reviewed by Steve Pitt

Steve Pitt is a Toronto-based freelance writer and an award-winning journalist. He has written many young adult and children's books, including Day of the Flying Fox: The True Story of World War II Pilot Charley Fox.


Welcome to Arrow S Ranch, a large prairie farm in Saskatchewan. It is
owned and operated by two generations of the Smith family. They raise
two types of beef cattle for the market and also have sheep, horses,
dogs, cats, and chickens living on their ranch. They have a big red barn
to hold their hay and many bins to store their grain. To plant and
harvest their crops they use many tractors and other kinds of farm
equipment. The Smith family works very hard but they like living on
their farm.

This is Patty Smith’s first children’s book. In her introduction,
she writes, “This book represents the accomplishment of a long-held
dream—to publish a children’s book that could help children, the
leaders of tomorrow, understand the importance of the agricultural
industry in our lives.” Frankly, it is hard to see how this book
achieves that goal. Crops and livestock are raised on the Arrow S Ranch
but Smith fails to demonstrate why this should be important to anyone
other than the people who live there. Smith uses photographs of the
ranch to tell her story, and each page also illustrates a simple
mathematical relationship such as “1 ewe + 2 lambs = 3 sheep.”
Forget the grandiloquent intent: what Smith has actually created is a
pleasant little family album about life on a real prairie farm with some
brain-teasers throw in for a bonus. Recommended.


Smith, Patty., “20 Prairie Adventures at Arrow S Ranch,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 26, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/19150.