Old MacDonald Had A Phone

Publisher: Andersen Press

Old MacDonald the farmer has a smart phone, and he loves it: it helps him buy chicken feed, organise the farm and all manner of other useful things. However, when he accidentally drops it in the lake and even more accidentally orders 100 replacements instead of just one, all the farm animals end up with one.

Obsessed with their new phones, the animals stop doing all the things they’re supposed to do to ensure that the farm functions properly: the rooster doesn’t crow to get everyone up in the morning, the horse doesn’t poo so there’s no manure for the crops and the cows’ texting problem means they don’t produce any milk – never mind the fact that the chickens are too busy on WhatsApp to lay any eggs. Something must be done! Fortunately, Young MacDonald, the farmer’s son, saves the day with a sensible plan for reasonable phone usage that also gets all the farm jobs done. YOLO!

Part of a series of picture books with an internet safety theme, Old MacDonald Had a Phone tackles the subject of limiting screen time with Jeanne Willis’ and Tony Ross’ marvellous humour and zaniness. Along with Chicken Clicking, Troll Stinks and #Goldilocks: A Hashtag Cautionary Tale, Old MacDonald Had a Phone takes a well-known rhyme and rewrites it with the modern child – and their familiarity with the internet – in mind. It’s very well done – particularly the fact that it’s the farmer’s son who provides the solution to the less internet-savvy farmer -  and lots of fun as well as having a cautionary message.

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