Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

In the Garden with Dr. Carver

In the Garden with Dr. Carver

Susan Grisby
Illustrator:  Nicole Tadgell 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Albert Whitman, 2010   ISBN: 978-0807536308

One Sunday Sally comes out of church to see that there is a “funny-looking” wagon parked in front of the church. A man called George Washington Carver owns the wagon, and he travels with it around the countryside. He uses the tools, seeds, and plants in the wagon to educate people about the best ways to make their gardens and crops more productive. This is vital information for the people who live in areas where cotton plants have stripped the earth of its nutrients.

Sally is delighted when Dr. Carver agrees to help the children with their school garden. He helps them to move a sorry looking rosebush into the sunshine so that it will do better. Dr. Carver tells the children all about how he used to go exploring when he was a boy. The children decide to follow his example. They sit “watching, listening to Nature” and they draw many of the amazing things that they see. Dr. Carver tells them the names of the flowers, plants, and insects that they see around them. He helps them to understand the relationships in their garden ecosystem, and he also helps them to plant their own kitchen garden.

This picture book beautifully shows how Dr. George Washington Carver worked to help the farmers, families, and children in his area to better understand nature’s gifts. He gave the people he met the tools and the information that they needed to be able to grow food crops that would benefit them and their community. In this book fact and fiction are beautifully brought together to give readers a rich story that is interesting and meaningful.