The Little Plant Doctor: A Story About George Washington Carver
written by Jean Marzollo; illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max
(Holiday House) 2011
Source: Orange County Public Library
Check out Nonfiction Monday at Apples With Many Seeds
The Little Plant Doctor is the story of George Washington Carver's childhood as told by a tree on the farm in Diamond, Missouri where he grew up. George was too sickly to work on the farm so he tended plants and worked in the house. George studied all parts of the plants and tried them in different places to see if they needed more sun or more shade. Neighbors would bring sick plants to George to see if he could make them better. George wanted to go to school, but African American children were not allowed to go to the nearby school, so his Aunt Sue taught him to read and write. When he was older, George did go to a school eight miles away. One day George came back to the farm to tell the tree that he was going to college. George went on to become a famous scientist.
The Little Plant Doctor is an interesting addition to the collection of children's books about George Washington Carver (See In the Garden with Dr. Carver). This is the first narrative I have seen about his childhood. I like the text level in that it will be accessible for first and second grade students who are just learning about biographies. There is also a great discussion section in the back matter which provides more facts about Dr. Carver's life. I would also think about including this book in a unit on plants. Kids can connect with George's childhood interest in plants and perhaps experiment with them as he did.
Click on this link for an activity sheet with several resources related to the book. You can also visit the website for the George Washington Carver National Monument by clicking on this link.