BETWEEN THE BOOKENDS

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Once Upon a Farm

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New Releases Out Just in Time for the Holidays

'He's making his list, checking it twice; gonna find out who's naughty and nice; Santa Clans is coming to town

It's that time again ... the holidays, when you're either agonizing over what to give, or working overtime in the hint department. Whether you're giving or wishing, something from this bag of new releases is bound to be a hit on Christmas morning.

'...He knows if you've been sleeping...'

Dozing while you drive? That won't do. '100 Years: The Sounds of Farm Power in the USA' is just the ticket to perk you up when you're behind the wheel. Available in cassette and CD, 'Sounds of Farm Power' is a unique collection of recordings of 36 steam engines and tractors. Each is recorded in digital stereo and offers surprising realism. Paul Salow, creator of 'Sounds of Farm Power, 'narrates each 30-second segment, describing make, model and year. The sounds of the engines alone are enough to coax up a good head of nostalgia and tame your commute.

100 Years: The Sounds of Farm Power in the USA, produced and narrated by Paul Salow, 2000; available in CD and cassette tape; featuring 36 brands of 124 different steam engines and tractors. Total playing time: 74 minutes. To order, send $12 for each CD and $10 for each cassette (plus $2 s/h per order) to Farm Sounds, Inc., PO Box 127, Milan, MI 48160.

'...He knows if you're awake...'

Need something to read on those long winter nights? Check out 'Once Upon a Farm,' or two new releases of classics from the Lyons Press. 'Once Upon a Farm,' by Bob Artley, is a fine look at boyhood on the farm in the 1920s-'30s. The unique twist here is Artley's illustrations, a handsome complement to the text. In beautiful yet simple water-colors and line drawings, Artley (a newspaper editorial cartoonist) takes a fond look back at a farm lifestyle now largely gone, tracking the farm's pulse through the season. Notations explain the operation of, say, an endgate seeder or planter wire. It's almost like stumbling on to a personal journal, full of recollections, paintings and sketches.

Once Upon a Farm, Bob Artley; Pelican Publishing Company, 2000; ISBN 1-56554-753-5; 128 pages, hard cover with jacket (11x8 1/2, black-and-white and full color illustrations), $21.95. To order, call Pelican Publishing toll free at 1 (800) 843-1724.

Need a brush-up on mechanics? The Lyons Press has re-published several books that were once a part of every farmer's library. Two of particular interest to today's collector: 'Farm Motors: Practical Hints for Handy-Men,' and 'The Operation, Care and Repair of Farm Machinery.' 'Farm Motors,' originally published in 1908, offers an overview of the farm motor's mechanical principles at a time when that technology was on the cutting edge. It takes on everything from windmills to waterwheels, steam engines, gas engines, traction engines and current electricity. A solid find for the novice.

'Farm Machinery' is of particular interest to Deere fans: it was published in 1937 by the John Deere company as a textbook for farm mechanics instructors. But any collector of vintage farm equipment will find a goldmine of information in this book: It covers everything from preparation of the seed bed to the harvest, using every conceivable piece of equipment, and the proper repair and maintenance of that equipment.

The Operation, Care and Repair of Farm Machinery, The Lyons Press, 2000; ISBN 1-58574-157-4; 240 pages, paperback, $12.95.

Farm Motors: Practical Hints for Handy-Men, J. Brownlee Davidson and Leon Wilson Chase, foreword by Nathaniel Tripp, The Lyons Press, 2000; 222 pages, paperback, $12.95. Both available from the publisher: (800) 836-0510; fax (219) 929-1836; online at www.lyonspress.com

'...He knows if you've been bad or good...'

Which brings us to 'Love, Sex and Tractors,' Roger Welsch's newest release. Welsch, the Dave Barry of old iron, has rolled up his sleeves to offer advice on gender relations, specifically, those between the tractor restorer and his 'significant other.' Welsch holds forth on the mysteries of Woman School, the healing powers of the Male Generic Apology; and the irresistible siren's duet of mashed potatoes and Victoria's Secret underwear. Welsch's narrative is accented by sage reflections on gender relations (sample: 'Women speak two languages, one of which is verbal.') by noted authorities such as W.C. Fields, Snoopy and Norman Mailer. It's not all advice for the lonely hearts: look for advice on rebuilding steering wheels, shop safety and tractor-related websites.

Love, Sex and Tractors, Roger Welsch; MBI Publishing Company, 2000; ISBN 0-7603-0868-3; 224 pages, paperback, $14.95. To order, call toll free 1 (800) 826-6600. Online: www. motorbooks. com

'... So be good for goodness' sake!

' If you've been very good this year, you may just find a copy of 'Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey' beneath your tree. Completely unlike any other book on Deere you've ever seen, 'Genuine Value' is a glorious romp through the company archives, a reflection on corporate philosophy, and a concise timeline illustrating the company's growth and product line.

The focus is on Deere values: quality, innovation, integrity and commitment. But the notion of family surfaces time again: 'Genuine Value' is a sort of corporate family album, family tree and family history, complete with a section containing the names of all 63,676 current Deere employees and living retirees. There's even a couple of pages of photographs of newlyweds posing with Deere equipment.

The words 'lavishly illustrated' are never more appropriately used than in describing 'Genuine Value.' This is a book of big pictures; unusual pictures you've never seen before. The text is spare, nearly minimalist, inviting the reader to connect visual images and lean prose in a compelling, almost interactive way.

Few companies enjoy the rich corporate heritage that exists at Deere & Co. Fewer still could present it in such a moving, captivating manner, one which honors the past and sets the course for the future.

Genuine Value, The John Deere Journey, John Gerstner, editor; published by Deere & Company, 2000; ISBN 0-86691-276-2; 286 pages; full color. Available at special rate of $49.95 rate through the order form and envelope bound in at the center of this issue, or order via website: www.genuinevalue.com (to receive the $49.95 rate through online orders, use the password 'value').

Also available (at $69.95) by calling toll free (800) 455-1174; on Amazon.com or at better bookstores nationwide.

'Beautiful Engines: Treasures of the Internal Combustion Century' is another holiday hit. The first-ever 'coffee table' type book on the development of the internal combustion engine, this one is packed with handsome color photographs and carefully researched material. Some 20 stationary and nine marine engines are featured, including International Harvester, Best, Gray, Fairbanks-Morse, Samson, Western, Witte, Olds, New Era and Foos.

'Beautiful Engines' covers a range from 1861 to 1928. Look for detail on the designers' inspirations, how various features evolved, and nuts and bolts of construction. Care is also taken to weave the engines into their era, giving a greater understanding of the internal combustion engine's role in the mechanization of America. 'Beautiful Engines' is not a shop manual: it's the book you'll leave out to show those friends of yours who don't understand the attraction of the stationary engine.

Beautiful Engines, Treasures of the Internal Combustion Century, Stan Grayson; Devereux Books, 2000; 112 pages, 156 black-and-white and color photographs, $49.95 plus $5.50 s/h. Available in mid-December. To order, Devereux Books, PO Box 503, Marblehead, MA 01945; (781) 631 -3055; online: www.devereuxbooks.com