Cover image for Tuttle's Red Barn : the story of America's oldest family farm
Tuttle's Red Barn : the story of America's oldest family farm
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c2007.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
Reading Level:
NC 860 L Lexile
Personal Subject:
Corporate Subject:
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
In 1632, John Tuttle set sail from England to Dover, New Hampshire and there he set up a farm on seven acres of land. From those humble beginnings the Tuttle family story became America's story.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 974.2 MIC 1 1
Book J 974.2 MIC 1 1
Book J 974.2 MIC 1 2

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In 1632, John Tuttle set sail from England to Dover, New Hampshire. There he set up a farm on seven acres of land. From those humble beginnings the Tuttle family story became America’s story.As the Tuttles passed down the farm, along the way they witnessed the settlement and expansion of New England; they fought in the American Revolution; they helped runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad and sold maple syrup to Abraham Lincoln; they bought the first Model T in that Dover; and they transformed the old barn into the thriving country store it is today.With Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian’s evocative woodcuts and Richard Michelson’s moving prose bringing the Tuttle story to life, readers will be enraptured by the panorama of American history as seen through the eyes of one family.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Michelson (Too Young for Yiddish) and Caldecott Medalist Azarian (Snowflake Bentley) salute 12 generations of Tuttles from Dover, N.H., operators of the longest continuously running family farm in the country (tourists may know its Red Barn farm stand). Tuttles "didn't mind hard work"-a phrase that serves as refrain-and family members found all kinds of ways to reap the land's bounty: along with planting crops, they also made maple syrup (and sold a sample to Abraham Lincoln), harvested cranberries and grapes, and installed the town's first cider mill. Each chapter focuses on the male Tuttle who inherits the farm, and that Tuttle, glimpsed in his youth, observes some history (fifth-generation William hears nine cannon salutes fired nine minutes apart on June 21, 1788, when his state becomes the ninth state to ratify the Constitution; two generations later, Joseph helps runaway slaves). Tuttle family lore, meanwhile, gets its own symbol via a pair of pewter candleholders brought from England by the first Tuttle. Michelson doesn't sentimentalize: the Tuttles endure economic downturns as well as the siren calls of Harvard, Western Expansion and the Industrial Revolution (a friend who leaves his farm for the mills writes, "I only have to work 12 hours a day... and I get Sunday off every week!"). In Azarian's tableau-like woodcuts, styles change while character endures. Her hand-crafted aesthetic enhances the story's warmth and humanity, while the sophisticated tints and bold outlines intensify the unalloyed beauty, reassuring rhythms and beguiling fecundity of rural farm life. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

(Primary, Intermediate) Tuttles have farmed the same land for twelve generations. Progenitor John Tuttle (1616-1683), shipwrecked with only "his father's ax and the two pewter candleholders his mother had given him," helped settle Dover, New Hampshire; his descendant Grayson (1997-) helps out at the "Red Barn," a farm store on the original site that offers fresh produce (grown elsewhere) plus multitudes of other goods (including replicas of those ancestral candleholders) to its thousands of customers. Though Michelson cites only a few memories of each generation (marriages, children, cooking, furniture, domestic animals, new buildings, new tasks), his chosen details suggest the arc of social and economic change over four centuries. Azarian's woodcuts make a splendid complement, visualizing costumes, architecture, and historical artifacts and implements with equal felicity. Her down-home pictures epitomize the characters' self-reliance, optimism, and work ethic. More specifics would have been welcome in the text (what year was that shipwreck?), as would sources (how do we know that Joseph Edward "stood guard as [his] father, Joseph, unlocked the trapdoor" under which hid runaway slaves?). Also, though this is purportedly nonfiction, the author frequently mentions emotions he can only have surmised. Still, like Woodson's Show Way (rev. 11/05) and Hearne's Seven Brave Women (rev. 9/97), it's an interesting family saga that also offers a real sense of history. From HORN BOOK, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Tuttle's Red Barn, in Dover, New Hampshire, is the oldest continuing family farm in America. In this picture-book account, Michelson traces the history of the farm, beginning in the seventeenth century when John Tuttle left England, crossed the Atlantic, and settled in Dover. Subsequent spreads introduce new generations of Tuttles, moving through the centuries to today's family members, who still operate a working farm on the property. The text is very brief, allowing for little time to connect with each generation or to put referenced topics, such as the Underground Railroad, into context. Michelson carefully inserts details about the rigors of daily work through the seasons and ages, though, and these specifics form an interesting view of our country's past, refreshingly seen through scenes of everyday life. Azarian's colored woodblock prints alternate close-up images of families at work with sweeping, panoramic scenes of the fields and farm that reinforce the sense of a specific place. A good supplement for American history units or for classroom discussions about family trees and the legacies generations share.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2007 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-Visited by more than 1000 customers daily who buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and other goods, the country's oldest continuing family farm has a story that parallels that of America. Michelson introduces readers to 12 generations of farming Tuttles, beginning with John Tuttle, who settled in Dover, NH, in 1632. Significant historical events, including interactions with displaced Penacook Indians, the Revolutionary War, the ratification of the Constitution, and participation in the Underground Railroad, are skillfully intertwined with the Tuttles' personal history. Several themes emerge: the value of hard work, the recognition that the farm was "the perfect place to raise a family," and the sustaining power of family. In fact, Grayson, who was born in 1997 and represents the 12th generation, states his intention to someday run the business. Filled with vivid colors and fluid lines, Azarian's masterful woodcuts perfectly complement the narrative, reflecting a simple, nostalgic vision of the world. Her attention to the details of each time period subtly conveys information about the changes in one American family farm as well as in the nation itself. This is an important book that children will enjoy.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

When John Tuttle arrived in Dover, N.H., in the 1600s, cleared some land and built a cabin, he had no way of knowing how many future Tuttles would benefit from his actions. So far, 12 generations have lived on what became America's oldest family farm, and each learns, grows and adds their experiences in this chronicle of a farm and family. In tracing the history of the land and people--each generation receives a minimum of one spread each--Michelson also relates American history as it affects each set of occupants through their eyes, covering tension between the settlers and Indians, the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, the Underground Railroad, the changing economy, the appearance of the first automobile and the development of the current store. Azarian's signature woodcut prints add an appropriately warm and folkloric touch. Perhaps more information about Indians and how they did not generally instigate conflict could be included, but otherwise a flawless work--recommended for both home and school reading. (Nonfiction. 5-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.