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It's Milking Time

It's Milking Time

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Author Phyllis Alsdurf, Illustrations Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 1, 2019)

Every morning, every night, it's milking time. A girl helps with her family's "alphabet of cows"—Alphie, Bertha, Cassie, Di—enacting a ritual played out on family farms the world over.


As the sun sets over the fields, a little girl and her father begin the evening milking. The girl gathers the cows—a "Holstein parade"—and guides them to the barn. Father and daughter work side by side, piling up the grain for feeding, fanning out beds of straw, and hooking up the milkers. In the corner pen, the girl feeds the calves all by herself.

Soon they've filled milk can after milk can for the creamery truck that will arrive in the morning. The fresh dairy product isn't just for them—other families will buy their milk, butter, and cheese at stores and farmers markets near and far, connecting the little girl's farm to the world beyond.

Phyllis Alsdurf's poetic story lovingly depicts the special bond between a child and her father and the relationship between a young farmer and her animals. With Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher's exquisite illustrations, It's Milking Time is a lyrical and visual treasure—perfect for reading aloud every morning, every night, to anyone who's ever asked: Where does milk come from?

Author information

Phyllis Alsdurf taught English and journalism at Bethel University in St. Paul and is the author of Thanksgiving in the Woods.

Steve Johnson has collaborated with Lou Fancher on more than forty-five picture books; together the artists conceive, draw, design, and paint. They also illustrated One Frozen Lake by Deborah Jo Larson.


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  • 32 pages
  • Fully illustrated in color
  • 8 x 10 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681341392

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