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In the Garden with Dr. Carver Hardcover – September 1, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3–In this story set in the early 1900s, African-American elementary-school students Sally and her classmates get scientific lessons from Dr. George Washington Carver, who arrives in a “funny-looking wagon” pulled by an old mule, his “movable school.” Everyone in the small Alabama town has heard of the famous plant scientist, however, and pays attention to what he has to say. The setting seems slightly idealized. The characters look healthy and well-dressed, although they do talk about the difficulties of farming land depleted by years of growing cotton. The focus of the story is on Carver teaching the children about plants though, not economic conditions, so Tadgell's sunny color palette, rich with earth tones, is appropriate. Sally, in a bright red dress and white pinafore, stands out in the gardening spreads. The watercolor illustrations include many humorous asides of children acting like children–making horrified faces as they taste Dr. Carver's menu of “chicken” made from peanuts and wild-weed salad, or being silly with friends when they are supposed to be listening. Scientific and historical information is well-presented through the gentle text and lighthearted illustrations. Teachers will find many uses for this appealing book.Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this charming historical-fiction picture book, a young girl relates an educational and inspirational visit by Dr. George Washington Carver to her Alabama town. When Carver visits Sally’s school, his child-friendly explanations (“Plants, like people, need nutritious food to help them grow”) and hands-on demonstrations invite the students’ curiosity and participation, as they learn about gardening, including the importance of respecting nature, and plant a school “kitchen” garden of their own. Concepts like composting and planting are well conveyed through Sally’s descriptive, sometimes lyrical narrative, which includes fun details like a school picnic filled with Carver’s recipes, such as sweet-potato-flour bread. The colorful watercolor illustrations, featuring soft touches and historical details, depict the rural setting and expressive characters; and attractive renderings of garden flora and fauna, labeled with scientific and common-use names, decorate the endpapers. Overall, this is an enjoyable, accessible, and informative introduction to Carver’s work and philosophies as well as gardening basics. A brief endnote provides additional information on Carver. Grades 1-3. --Shelle Rosenfeld

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080753630X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807536308
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 10.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Botanist and inventor George Washington Carver achieved professional acclaim with his scholarship in plant pathology and agriculture at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. His strong desire to use hands-on methods in teaching farmers and mentoring children led him to travel across the South in a wagon specially equipped with extension materials and pulled by a mule.

Carver's novel use of the movable school contributed to improved understanding of how alternative crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes could improve soil quality and diversify people's diets. As a highly educated and successful African American scientist, he also served as an important role model for children at a time of rampant discrimination and racial segregation.

This work of historical fiction presents young learners with a snapshot of George Washington Carver's extension work with children. Although the text and illustrations have a botanical focus, the story can motivate some useful economics-oriented discussions related to natural resources, innovation, and agricultural production. As one of the most famous African American inventors in U.S. history, Carver has left a rich legacy that is clearly presented in this appealing children's book.
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Format: Hardcover
Children will enjoy going back in time to early 1900s in rural Alabama as they learn more about African American scientist George Washington Carver in the book In the Garden With Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby. As Sally leaves church, she sees a man in a wagon. This was no ordinary wagon but an educational wagon ran by a man with most usual ideas about gardening.

Since the area had been used to grow cotton for many years, nutrients in the soil were stripped away. As a result, people found it difficult to get food to grow in the soil. Dr. Carver teaches the adults and children how to replenish nutrients in the soil and other things about nature. Sally and her friends at school eat lunch made from items taken from the garden, including some created by Dr. Carver such as chicken derived from peanuts. Sally was thrilled to have met this man and treasured all the things she learned from him. Complete with rich illustrations, children will find In the Garden With Dr. Carver not only engaging but educational with the addition of information about the work of George Washington Carver as the book ends.
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Format: Hardcover
IN THE GARDEN WITH DR. CARVER by Susan Grigsby,pictures by Nicole Tadgell is a fascinating Children's book/Educational. Well written,with engaging characters,beautiful pictures and a great teaching tool for young readers. Easy to follow and a great read for grade levels Kindergarten - 3rd grade. This author has placed an interesting take on the African American Scientist,Dr. Carver, we all learned about in school,plus she has added much insight and strength into his story. A must read for not only young readers but for Educators and adults alike. Received for an honest review from the publisher.



REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
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