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Ox-Cart Man Hardcover – October 8, 1979

4.8 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald Hall is the author of many children's favorites, including The Ox-Cart Man (a Caldecott Medal winner), I Am the Dog, I Am the Cat and Lucy's Summer, and the editor of The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America (OUP, 1985). He has also written a dozen books of poetry, most recently
Without. He lives on a farm in New Hampshire.


Barbara Cooney is one of the most well-loved authors and illustrators of children's books today. She has won many awards for her books, including the American Book Award and two Caldecott Medals for Illustration. Ms. Cooney lives in Damariscotta, Maine.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: AD1130L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (October 8, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670533289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670533282
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
Most books that focus on continuity and the circle of life/the seasons/etc. like to concentrate on that theme via animals munching on other animals. We sometimes forget that there are subtler ways to present this same theme. Consider the lovely "Ox-Cart Man" by Donald Hall. 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 takes place in what looks to be the mid 19th century. A man that is never named lives on a farm with his wife, daughter, and son. 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".

Those people who follow poetry will recognize the name Donald Hall and appreciate the simplicity of his writing in this book.
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Format: Paperback
The journey of a settler who packs up his cart with surplus that was grown, handmade, and raised on a farm in historical New England. The story takes the reader through what a family has to do to survive during this time period and what each part the family had in that survival. From a historical perspective an awesome book. With the love of history that I have on a personal note this story gives me clues to my own ancestors survival needs. I have two copies of this book one at home and one in my classroom. Very detailed illustrations, very accurate information on the settler's way of life and need for trading or selling off goods that the family helped make. The portrayal of the family with no electricity and providing their own means of survival. The story tells us that the farmer travelled ten days to reach the village of Portsmouth. I would've like to know which direction he came from, whether he had to travel from the south, the north or the west of the village. I would've also like to have know what he saw and who he might have met along the way.
Classroom Activities I do with this book:
Math - Seasons, Sequencing, Money, Trading/Selling, Time Art - Draw the seasons, quilts, weaving, looms, broom making, Science - Make candles, grow a pototo from a seed, make maple sugar,
Social Studies - 13 Colonies, Mapping Skills, Clothing, Occupations, Cooking
Reading - Write a sequel or pre-story to this book, illustrate one aspect of story or write about who he might have met along the way and which direction he came from.
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By A Customer on July 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read this book to my three children-ages 3-7-almost every day for about three years. They have learned about how life was in the past. They now want to "start from scratch" when making everything.
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Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
I used this book with my third grade class in talking about the skills that our ancestors needed in order to survive. The book is about a man who takes a cart load of goods to town and sells everything including the ox! My students loved the ending, but I won't give that away. This is a must have for the classroom.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As for the story, this review says it best: "This is the kind of picture book that you can return to again and again, for as pretty as it is it's better than pretty; it's true in a way that moves children and grown-ups alike" -New York Times Book Review.

I've bought so many copies of this book; I was a nanny for five years and any child who heard it fell in love with it, so of course I let each one keep it, finding a new copy each time. Then it went out of print just as I was having my first kid of my own. So I bought a used paper back copy. Then I needed yet another copy and the one that arrived that time had such peculiar, wash-out pictures, like a bad photocopy. This isn't a seller-feedback-posing-as-a-review: I'm only mentioning it because if you happen to get a copy and are underwhelmed by it, it may be that you got a bad printing. In a good printing, the colors are so rich you can practically smell the sun on the autumn leaves, the mist collecting in the hollows in the evening seem to swirl, the windows of the homes at night glow. I hadn't realized how much the pictures contribute to the whole story until I got a 'bad' copy.

Hopefully, hopefully, The Ox-Cart Man comes back into print one day. I don't think I'll ever stop needing copies of this book.
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