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Ox-Cart Man
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Ox-Cart Man

4.5 13
by Donald Hall, Barbara Cooney (Illustrator)

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Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods - the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from


Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods - the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.

He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one - even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.

Donald Hall has created a gentle story, evoking a quiet time in American life that is irrevocably past. Using a special method which resembles the early American technique of painting on wood, Barbara Cooney has captured the sense of peace of early nineteenth-century New England and the bustle of Portsmouth Market.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Like a pastoral symphony translated into picture book format, the stunning combination of text and illustrations recreates the mood of 19th-century rural New England."—The Horn Book 

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Picture Puffin Books Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.20(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.20(d)
AD1130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

Donald Hall is an American poet, writer, editor and literary critic. He is the author of over 50 books across several genres from children's literature, biography, memoir, essays, and including 22 volumes of verse. Hall was named the fourteenth U.S. Poet Laureate in 2006 and served for one year. He is the winner of the Caldecott Medal, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and has twice been nominated for the National Book Award. 

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Ox-Cart Man 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A classic tale of a family working together throughout the seasons to live in harmony with nature. My kids LOVE this book. I really enjoy reading it with them. There are so many lessons to be taught from this simple, pleasant book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hall and Cooney seem the perfect match to portray the seasonal life of a 19th century New England farm family. Hall's frugal poetry evokes the essence of the diligent, loving farm family and the harmony they share with nature. Cooney's illustrations show the depth of their simple folk life. It's counter-cultural and magnificently reveals how living close to the land has profound rewards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book for it's beautiful, colorful illustrations that give us lots to talk about, because at 18 months my son isn't tracking full stories yet. I was also attracted to it for its message of simple living from a previous era. It shows a child that simplicity can be good, when all around him is television and consumerism. That message won't reach him till he's a bit older and can understand the narrative, but in the meantime, he loves naming all the things he sees and "talking" to me about them. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book as a child and I enjoy it just as much now because it shows hard work and the importance of doing what you need to but it also gives children a glimpse of how a book that tells different histories will be laid out. Hall, Donald. OX-CART MAN. New York: Puffin, 1979.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Living on a farm can be quite tough. Every year it is the same routine. 'In October he backed his ox into his cart and he and his family filled it up with everything they made or grew all year long that was left over.' What will the Ox-Cart man bring back? Will he be able to start the Process all over again? Read and find out. This book is an older book meant for ages 4-8. This book is really enjoyale becuase it tells about how life was in the olden days. I think that the illustartions are wonderful and very nice. Hall, Donald. OX-CART MAN. New York: Puffin, 1979.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Caldecott Book Title: Ox-Cart Man Reading Level: Third Grade 3.9 Genre: Fiction About the Author: Donald Hall is a well-known poet who gives readings of his works throughout the country. He says of Ox-Cart Man: ¿My cousin¿ who has always lived around here, originally told me the story and it had been told to him when he was a boy, by an old man and the old man told him that he had heard it when he was a boy, from a still older man. The oral tradition!¿ Mr. Hall and his wife live in Danbury, New Hampshire. Book Review: The Ox-Cart Man is a story about the life of one New Englander and his family, who work together to grow and make many things. The Ox Cart Man packs his goods and when his cart is full, he waves good-bye to his wife, his daughter, and his son, and he walks at his ox¿s head ten days over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages, until he comes to Portsmouth Market. There he sells his goods, along with his ox cart. ¿Then he sold his ex, and kissed him good-bye on his nose.¿ With the money he made, he buys things back for his family. ¿He bought an iron kettle to hang over the fire at home, and for his daughter he bought an embroidery needle that came from a boat in the harbor that has sailed all the way from England, and for his son he bought a Barlow knife, for carving birch brooms with and for the whole family he bought two pounds of wintergreen peppermint candies.¿ Then he walks back home and gives his family all that he has bought for them, and each of them use the things he has bought for them to make new things. This is a wonderful story of a family all working together to contribute toward helping the family earn their living. I found this story to be very enjoyable and would recommend this book for learning and enjoyment. Bibliographic Information: Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man. New York: The Viking Press, 1979.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donald Hall , OX- cart man, Vikina press, new York, 1979 New England writer Donald Hall 'born 1928' is a major poet in the lineage of Robert Frost. Memoirist, short story writer, essayist University, he taught at Harvard until 1957 and then at the University of Michigan until 1975.Most of Hall's major poetry was written after his return to New Hampshire. Many of these poems evoke the durable, seemingly immutable character of his region as seen through a deeply meditative or reflective sensibility. Although primarily a poet and memoirist, Hall has written books on baseball--Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball '1976' and children's books, including Ox-Cart Man '1979', winner of the Caldecott Medal. He is one of the most versatile and respected writers of his generation. Hall spent his boyhood in Connecticut and New Hampshire. He attended local schools, graduated from Harvard in 1951, and received a B. Litt. from Oxford in 1953. After a year studying at Stanford This story starts with a family filling a cart with items they had made through the year. The farmer takes the items to towns market. After a long travel he solid the items they worked so hard to gather and receives his pay. He buys items that he and his family will need for the year to come. With a cooking pot, needle, knife, and some mints he returns home. I think this is a good book to show hard work pays off. It also shows how different people life in different ways and that everyone plays a part in this world and how if functions. Hey kids I think you will enjoy this book. You can see how different people in different parts of the world work for a living and how they live. ¿When his cart was full he waved good bye to his wife, daughter and son
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Caldecott Medal Award Winner titled Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall is completely worthy of this award because it presented the lifestyle of what life was like long ago. The setting of the story is New England most likely in the late 1800¿s. The genre of this picture book is would be classified as historical realism because it¿s a realistic story that could have happened in the past. The story presents facts that actually happened such as walking for miles to the nearest market. For instance, one of the story lines read ¿When his cart was full, he waved good-bye to his wife his daughter, and his son and he walked at his ox¿s head ten days over hills, through valleys, by streams past farms and villages until he came to Portsmouth and Portsmouth Market¿. This picture book is appropriate for ages four to eight years old. The plot in this book is laid out to genuinely grab the reader and the audience¿s attention because of the exceptionally different routine¿s the New Englander and his family particularly followed year after year as opposed to the way family life is lived in our day. The illustrations Barbara Cooney presented are utterly attractive and very well presented in detail. Although the colors of the illustrations are limited they complement the environment of the setting in that particular time frame. The well known author Donald Hall now resides in Danbury, New Hampshire. The illustrator Barbara Cooney has illustrated many children¿s books not to mention the Caldecott Award she has earned twice. Barbara received her first Caldecott award in the year 1959 and the second in 1980. Hall, Donald. Ox-Cart Man. New York: First Published by Viking Penguin Inc., 1979
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each October, the Ox-Cart Man loads his cart with all the things he and his family has made all year long. When the cart is full, he harnesses his ox to the cart and waves good-bye. He then takes his place in front of his ox and begins his long journey. ¿He walked at his ox¿s head ten days over hills, through valleys, by streams past farms and villages.¿ When he finally reaches the city, he unloads his cart and sells all of the fine goods he had brought. The ox-cart man even sells his ox and cart! How will he ever get home?
Guest More than 1 year ago
A 1980 Caldecott Award winner, the tale focuses on the yearly passage of one man selling his goods only to do it all over again the next year. Ultimately this is one of the most comforting books out there. The book begins with the family packing his cart with the various goods they have to sell. There are mittens knit by his daughter, shawls spun and woven by his wife, and birch brooms carved by his son. The book catalogues the items packed away in an oddly riveting fashion. Next, the man travels on foot to a harbor town named Portsmouth. There, he sells the items including his beloved ox. There's a shot of the man kissing his ox good-bye on the nose, which (when you consider the slime factor) is simultaneously touching and gross. He next goes out and buys an iron kettle, an embroidery needle for his daughter, a knife for his son, and two pounds of wintergreen peppermint candies. The man walks home to his family waiting for him and as the seasons pass they build up their items to sell once more. One of my favorite lines is the last one. 'And geese squawked in the barnyard, dropping feathers as soft as clouds'. This book is for ages 4-8.
Guest More than 1 year ago
They made birch brooms, shingles, candles, maple sugar, syrup, linen, and knitted and woven garments. They collected goose feathers, honey and honeycombs, as well as wool. They grew flax, potatoes, apples, turnips and cabbages. Then the man traveled for ten days to take all of the goods the family had made to the market. There he sold everything, including the boxes and barrels the goods were carried in, the ox cart, the oxen and their yoke and harness. Then he bought his son a knife, his daughter a needle, his wife a kettle and two pounds of peppermint candy and walked back home. This story shows how that each family member worked for an entire year to make a contribution toward helping the family earn their living. It shows the father¿s ingenuity and planning sold all of the goods and made enough money to purchase tools to help them produce more goods to sell next year. I found this story immensely enjoyable. It hearkens back to a time when an interdependence among family members and hard work by all was essential for their survival. I feel that it would be beneficial to students to read this book for a glimpse into life in the days of their grand parents and great grandparents.