The Little Plant Doctor: The Story of George Washington Carver

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If a flower drooped, George asked, "What's the matter? Too much sun? Too little sun?" He moved some plants from sun to shade and others from shade to sun. Nicknamed the Little Plant Doctor, George would try to find a remedy.

Jean Marzollo introduces children to a great scientist and encourages them to ...

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Overview

If a flower drooped, George asked, "What's the matter? Too much sun? Too little sun?" He moved some plants from sun to shade and others from shade to sun. Nicknamed the Little Plant Doctor, George would try to find a remedy.

Jean Marzollo introduces children to a great scientist and encourages them to cultivate a sense of wonder and a desire to explore.

Bright, bold illustrations by Ken Wilson-Max underscore that science and learning are fun!
"

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Marzollo's gentle biography of botanist Carver is told from the perspective of a tree that bears witness to his early fascination with plant life. Wilson-Max paints Carver's childhood garden with broad, smudgy shapes and thick outlines, as Carver laments that he isn't allowed to attend school with white children. But after studying plants and learning to read, he goes off to school and makes a name for himself. The framing device isn't entirely successful; key conversations have to be held within earshot (leafshot?) of the tree, and its "knowledge" of the world is inconsistent (it doesn't know what a president is, but discusses Carver's work at the Tuskegee Institute). Readers aren't likely to gain a true sense of his accomplishments through the tree's limited point of view. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
If you have ever eaten Chinese food chances are that it was cooked using peanut oil. The development of peanut oil and several hundred other uses for peanuts represent just a part of the work of George Washington Carver. The brief story of his early years is recounted by Marzollo in this picture book. She has used a tree to relate the story and for young readers it is an interesting approach. Trees live for hundreds of years and this tree is still around even though Carver passed away almost seventy years ago. He was a bright, inquisitive young boy who was raised by a white family. He was born a slave, but grew up after slavery was abolished. He was taught to read and write, and thus he was able to attend school and was the first black student to graduate from what is now Iowa State University. Carver loved to teach and he never got rich from his research because he believed in giving away all his inventions and shared what he learned to make life better for farmers. His life, his thirst for learning and his dedication to improve the lives of people serve as a model for any child no matter what their race. Wilson-Max has created bright and bold illustrations that show a young boy growing into a young man and in almost every scene the tree that saw it all and is still standing in the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Missouri. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Marzollo's sweet, simple biography begins, "I'm a very old tree. I live in Diamond, Missouri. Old trees like me have stories to tell." Told from the perspective of a tree on the grounds of the George Washington Carver National Monument, the story is a heartfelt testimony to Carver's innate curiosity and delight in the natural world. The book is written conversationally, an engaging tactic that draws readers in. Although some might find the fictionalizing off-putting, the nonfiction elements are blended seamlessly with factual details about the man's desire to attend school and his subsequent accomplishments in botany. The vivid, full-bleed illustrations add much to the story; the vibrant, painterly strokes are visible throughout. This lovely book is worthy of a place on most shelves.—Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY
Kirkus Reviews

Told in the voice of an old tree at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Mo., this fictionalized biography provides a simple—one might even say simplistic—introduction to Carver's early life. The tree-as-narrator device gets more than a little silly, with the tree proclaiming, "I'm just a tree so I don't know what a president is," and, "I don't know what a computer is," while it seems to know a lot of other things, like that racial segregation is unjust. Just skimming the surface of Carver's life and work may have its place in some settings, but most readers will be disappointed in the lack of information provided here as well as by the patronizing tone. Colorful illustrations painted with acrylics brighten the story. Wilson-Max's folk-art style complements Carver's life and the period he lived in, giving the book a childlike and rustic appeal. End pages boldly display both the peanut and sweet potato plant complete with labels. Instead of an author's note there are questions and answers "For Further Discussion." This section also includes a quote from and photograph of Carver. There are better treatments out there; give this one a miss.(Picture book/biography. 6-10)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823423255
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/4/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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