The Carrot Seed has just celebrated its 60th anniversary! This simple, almost Zen-like story tells of a young boy’s determination to grow a carrot, despite his family’s doubts and opposition. The little boy tends the seed, ever patient, keeping his expectations high. In the end, he is rewarded with a carrot so large, it has to be hauled with a wheelbarrow. Not only does this book teach the basics of growing a plant from seed to harvest, but also children learn how to persist in the face of opposition. It is unfortunate that the boy’s parents are not supportive of his efforts, but the boy triumphs in the end. Crockett Johnson’s simple illustrations, reminiscent of his other famous work Harold and the Purple Crayon, match this minimalist tale of gardening and positive attitude. Planting carrot seeds, especially in a root viewer, is a great extension of the story in the classroom.
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Jeremiah McNichols says
I did not grow up with this book but discovered it when Z was born, and have had mixed feelings about it. I share your discomfort with a scenario that pits a young child against his parents and sibling to achieve his goals. Perhaps if the story had a reconciliation or apology from his family afterwards, this lack of support would feel less inappropriate for the age level.
Ami Scott says
It is unfortunate that his family won’t stand behind him. It’s even sadder that this happens in real life everyday. However, I like the “perseverance in the face of adversity” kind of moral to it. I got this to use as part of my son’s winter curriculum. I also love the Purple Crayon.
This is one of my favorite books. I enjoy the simplicity of the message (like ami) and the drawings are definitely to my taste. Jeremiah- I hadn’t considered what you brought up regarding the age appropriateness of the lack of family support. I’m going to give it a good think.
I’ve used this book in preschool classrooms for years, and thought it is unfortunate that the boy had no support, it always seemed like many children could relate to the feeling the boy had. It is a realility that children aren’t always supported in their endeavros, and as such I think it reflects an important experience, as well as teaching self-support.
Another part, how the carrot sprang up overnight, used to bother me, because it seemed to teach an unrealistic view of growing things, and we used the book in the context of a unit on planting and growing. However, I have my own garden this year, and it’s interesting how it almost DOES seem like vegetable spring up overnight. I’ve written about my experience of this here:
Thanks for reminding me about “The Carrot Seed!” It’s not only a great resource for teaching basic ecology principles, but also brings up important, sometimes tough-to-talk-about issues concerning spirituality and conviction.
There’s even a great animation of the story, as well as an audio recording, which I talk about here, if you’re interested.
Mark Montgomery says
I love everything about gardening, growing plants and learning all I can about organic gardening and all the garden accessories that are out there. Keep up the great work on this blog and I look forward to visiting again. By the way, you might really enjoy what you find at http://gardeninglunatic.com Have a great day
Titus Permadi says
Children story, but very useful for everyone