Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 130

Picture Book: The Carrot Seed

Author: Ruth Krauss

Illustrator: Crockett Johnson

Summary: This classic has a simple story but a powerful message about a lone boy’s faith in a carrot seed, which he planted and nurtures despite family members saying repeatedly, “It won’t come up.” Eventually the greens pop above the soil’s surface. Then the boy pulls a huge carrot out of the ground and loads it onto a wheel barrow. I wonder if he shared the carrot with his family. Ask your audience!

Hanna’s Comments: This book was published 70 years ago, but its simple message of faith and nurturing is universal and timeless. I think it should be in every toddler and preschooler’s library. Certainly it should be in your faith community’s nursery, preschool rooms, and community-wide library. Don't limit it's audience to just little ones. With elementary children and adults, use it as an intro. to a talk about naysayers and critics of faith and hope. Emphasize patience! Discuss the concept of tending your own personal faith like the boy nurtured his carrot seed. Point out that the carrot seed might have died had the boy not been so faithful to it. Ask: “What are some of the ways we “water” and “weed” our faith gardens?” Offer more personal examples of your faith practices. You might even describe your faith garden. Where is the beauty? What are the pests? How do you harvest and what do you glean from your faith garden?

You'll find a similar book with a more complicated plot and more text in a book by Pat Brisson and Maryann Cocca-Leffler. Wanda's Roses highlights a girl's determination to nurture a thorn bush in a vacant lot. She is sure it is a rose bush. She, and eventually some neighbors, clean up the lot. Throughout her many days of faithful hard work, Wanda keeps saying to naysayers the lot will be filled with roses. Wanda is right!

Publisher & Date of Publication: Harper & Row, 1945

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Yes

Formats other than Book: There are several videos to choose from including “Uncle Wally” Amos reading this book as a part of the Read it Loud library program on, Audio cassette

PBT Category: Classic

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: beginnings/morning, care of creation, doubt, eggs/seeds, faith/faithfulness, family, gardening/planting/pruning/sowing, harvest, land/mountains/soil, patience, perseverance, resisting evil, transformation, water

Scripture Connections: Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:8); If you have faith the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) 

Idea(s) for Application: Because the concept of faith is so abstract, children (and sometimes adults) have difficulty understanding it. This little book offers a delightfully simple, but profound explanation of faith that is easy to relate to. Read this book in a Sunday school or other small group context and explore the concept of faith and how to "tend" and "nurture" it.  

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