Agri-rock shakes barn after Farmer Joe's asleep

'Punk Farm' the latest book by Worcester native

By Nancy Sheehan TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF


Farmer Joe works hard all day long. At the end of the day he is tired and heads for home. His animals are sleepy, too. But are they getting ready for bed?

Not tonight. They have a show to get ready for.

Pig plugs in his amp. Chicken sets up her keyboards. Cow sets up her drums. Goat tunes his base. Sheep checks the microphone ….1…..2…3… And author and illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka takes the stage with his latest children's book!!

Titled "Punk Farm," the book is a visual delight that tells the story of a band of spirited and tuneful farm animals who give a clandestine midnight rock concert while their unsuspecting "master" sleeps. It is the sixth children's book from the prolific Mr. Krosoczka, 27, a Worcester native who now lives in Dorchester. Previous titles include 2001''s "Good Night, Monkey Boy" and the award winning "Baghead," a disarming story about a little boy having a seriously bad hair day. Meanwhile, he has seriously busy days with his west coast tour with Punk Farm and will head east for a stop at Tatnuck Bookseller Thursday night.

"Wherever I go to do these book events, the ones at Tatnuck are the best," he said. "There are so many people I know there. My entire family is there and friends from growing up. And random people from various stages of my life show up."

How many stages can a life have had at 27? It is the speed of Mr. Krosoczka''s life — that has led him through many phases already — and many books. Just before he started his promotional tour for "Punk Farm," he turned in book No. 7, "Giddy Up, Cowgirl," about a free spirited toddler who runs errands with her mother and manages to mess everything up. The Jarrett juggernaut will continue with book No. 8, which he is currently revising, and No. 9, his first graphic novel, in the storyboard stages.


He also has dabbled in music, creating a CD with the Punk Farm Band, which features his sister, Maura Hennessy, 18, and brother, Rich Hennessy, 16, both of New Braintree. It is a musically talented family but Mr. Krosoczka says that gene skipped right over him. ""I was the executive producer,"" he said of his role in the making of the CD. (The song is downloadable from www.punkfarm.com.)

To repay his brother and sister for their musical efforts on his book's behalf, Mr. Krosoczka is auctioning some Punk Farm-inspired paintings on eBay. All proceeds will benefit a local arts group his siblings are associated with called DC-FIY ( It stands for Don't Complain, Fix It Yourself). The group works to foster the local arts and music scene with events such as all-ages concerts for kids who aren't old enough to get into clubs.

Many of Mr. Krosoczka's readers aren't old enough to get into grammar school.

But having such a very young fan base makes for a lively and busy book tour. The most impressive day of his west coast swing was last Friday in San Diego. The day started with a guest appearance on an early morning radio show. Then it was across town to a bookstore where 100 first-graders were waiting to be amused. Then he had to be rushed across town again to be the keynote speaker at a preschool graduation.

""It was a full-out graduation with a stage and the kids all seated, and they all were wearing caps and gowns,"" he said.

How does one address such an august assemblage? ""I gave a faux serious speech about how the lessons they learned on pre-school would carry through their academic careers,"" he said. ""I listed the lessons they would use in their lives, things like sharing, colors and numbers."" The humor delighted parents in attendance, but the kids were happy when a sudden gust of wind blew away the index cards Mr. Krosoczka was carrying.

"The timing was perfect," he said. "This gust of wind blew up at just the right moment and I let the cards with the fake speech blow away and I pulled out "Punk Farm" and said, 'Since I lost my speech would they like me to read a story?'"

"The kids yelled, 'Yeah!!!!!'" 
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