Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson (HarperCollins Children's Books)

The Carrot Seed

Written by Ruth Krauss

Illustrated by Crockett Johnson

Published by HarperCollins Children's Books

I'm always amazed to find that books that I loved as a kid, and naturally assumed sprang from that era of my childhood are actually donkeys years older. Such is the case with "The Carrot Seed" by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson, which is coming up for its 70th Anniversary next year. Phew!!

It's the simple story of a young boy who one day plants a seed in his garden. He tends it, he waters it but nothing appears.
His mum and dad point out that nothing will ever grow. His older brother scoffs and says it'll never sprout, but the boy keeps the faith - and eventually he's rewarded when the first tiny green leaves spring from the earth - and later, a huge gigantic carrot grows too!

It's a story that sounds fairly low-impact on paper but considering the age of this book, and the sheer brilliance and simplicity of Johnson's artwork (he is the genius behind "Harold and the Purple Crayon") it's a hugely influential and important little book that I'm so pleased to see still in print. The story is purposely not overdressed, and Johnson's orange-hued autumnal artwork is fabulous and a real delight. Definitely worth picking up if your youngsters love grubbing around in the garden and growing their own things as much as Charlotte does.

Charlotte's best bit: The gigantic carrot that the boy manages to grow

Daddy's Favourite bit: Simple but hugely effective story wrapped around Crockett Johnson's wonderful understated illustrations. Fabulous!

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