Celebrate World Environment Day: Read The Carrot Seed

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents and others who work with young children.

June 5th is World Environment Day.  The theme for 2012 is Green Economy: Does It Include You?  According to Wikipedia, Green Economy is “growth in income and employment that is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem.”

Does Green Economy include you?  How can parents become involved in lessening the carbon footprints of their family?  How can parents engage young children in environmental activities?

Here is the perfect picture book that can serve as a launching pad for a summer family vegetable garden that will inform, engage and involve kids in what will hopefully become a life-long concern for preserving the environment and living a healthier lifestyle.  The book is one of the hundred classic picture books recommended in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Please check out a stellar review of my book by Nancy Hatch on Spirit Lights the Way.

The Carrot Seed

Written by Ruth Krauss

Illustrated by Crockett Johnson

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers  (1945…and NEVER out of print since then!)

Ages: 2 and up


Determination, perseverance, self-esteem, gardening, self-reliance

Opening Line:

“A little boy planted a seed.  His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”


From Amazon: “Ruth Krauss, author of A Hole Is to Dig, has crafted a story almost Zen-like in its simplicity. A little boy plants a carrot seed and waits patiently, tending to it carefully, while everyone around him insists that “it won’t come up.” His conviction is steadfast, however, and sure enough, a carrot worthy of first prize at any state fair springs forth from the earth. Krauss’s husband, Crockett Johnson (creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon), illustrated The Carrot Seed, and while the little boy is rendered with uncomplicated lines, all of his hope, confidence, and serenity shine through. The image that resonates most strongly in this minimalist tale is the unfaltering faith of the mild-mannered little boy. Young readers learn that standing your ground in the face of opposition and doubt can often result in twice the reward expected (even thrice the reward, if judging by the girth of this carrot).”

Why I like this book:

The illustrations: simplicity in its purest form!

The text: minimalistic and appealing!

The message: POWERFUL…believe in yourself, even when no one else does!

What a wonderful book for every young child…this is a story that encourages kids to stand up for what they believe in.  With World Environment Day coming on June 5th, this book can be a launching pad for starting a home vegetable garden this summer that will decrease your family’s carbon footprint.

Related Activities:

Plant a carrot seed, of course!  With young children, you can also take the butt end of a fresh carrot and plant that in a container of soil.  The carrot will grow profuse greenery that smells just like a carrot and can be cut and used to garnish salads and vegetable dishes.

You can find some great instructions for container gardening here.

There are lots of good tips for growing veggies with kids here.

Investigate your local community to see if there is a community gardening project that your kids can get involved in.

Lesson plan and activity unit for third grade based on the Carrot Seed.

Crockett Johnson’s Homepage has some interesting info on the Carrot Seed song.

Brighttub has a page of lesson plans and activities.

Scholastic has a page of lesson plans and activities.

Curriculum for The Carrot Seed.

Read about World Environment Day 2012 on Mauritius first-ever youth newspaper

Read about the 2012 Theme of Green Economy: Does It Include You on Wikipedia

Connect with world-wide events and celebrations on the United Nations site

San Francisco has been in the forefront of green mandates…Sophie Azouaou is the SF Green Living Examiner.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.  Her page is a perfect resource go-to for summer activities for kids!

The summer is a perfect time to be reading with young children!  Leave a comment on this post any time during June telling what books you are reading with your kids and you will be entered into the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Reading Challenge.  Each month we mail a lovely picture book to one lucky winner!  It could be you!

36 thoughts on “Celebrate World Environment Day: Read The Carrot Seed

  1. I grew veggies before we got a dog. I ought to try again when she’s out of the puppy stage, even if it’s very small. I make a terrible gardener!


    • Gardening provides, not only food for the table, but food for the soul. Don’t judge yourself so harshly, Catherine. 🙂 Try herbs in pots….they are usually pretty hardy. Is your puppy a “diggety dog” who destroys the garden?


  2. I first encountered this book in 1979 when I was a theology student, learning about sharing stories with children — and its appeal is just as great, or greater, now.

    Thank you for adding this wonderful little book to our PPBF lineup, Vivian. I’m so grateful to learn that it’s still available!


    • I love the interplay of commenting, Beth. We get a chance to learn about each other. 🙂
      Yes, this is an oldie but a goodie for sure…everyone doubted the little boy…but he had faith!!!


  3. Thanks for mentioning my blog. I remember reading The Carrot Seed when I was a little girl, it is such a sweet book.
    The carrot seeds the boys and I planted in our garden a few weeks ago are starting to poke their tiny green shoots up! The boys are quite excited.


    • My younger son (now 36 years old) looks back with great joy on the time we spent planting, weeding and harvesting our vegetable garden…well, maybe not so much joy on the weeding part. 🙂 You have a lovely blog…I was happy to link to it!


    • Well, Barbara, I don’t know. 🙂 🙂 But hurray for Susanna’s PPBF where we all get to discover and rediscover great picture books! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting…I really appreciate it…this kidlit community is beyond compare. 🙂


  4. We have this book at home and my kids really like it. I love how it shows kids growing any plant takes time and care. It’s a great lesson about patience and also about turning off the negativity that often surrounds us. I think kids are so much more persistent than adults, which is a good thing!


    • Milka…you hit the nail on the head…kids ARE more persistent…and parents need to understand and accept that…in the store, when they “beg and whine” for a candy bar or toy or whatever, they can “outlast and outplay” adults. It’s so important to set the rules and stick to them…and watch the whining stop. 🙂
      Glad you liked the book choice!


      • Oh, that whine, and I heard it never goes away! My kids are pretty good with me because they know no means no with me. It’s a different story with their dad…

        I got your books in my mailbox today, thank you! We read the picture book tonight and my four-year old enjoys reading the numbers on each page. As for your book, yes, I’d like to read it and review it before I give it to my library. Unfortunately I happen to be working on four different work projects at the same time, which never, ever happens. So things are a little nuts and it may take me a few weeks to get to it but I will. And yes, I’ll do a review on my blog and post it at least on Goodreads too. I think I have an account on Amazon to post reviews but I can’t remember how it all works right now so I’ll look into it.

        Thanks again for the great books!


        • So glad the books came, Milka. Please don’t feel pressured to review Show Me How until you are finished with your work projects…whenever you get to it will be fantastic. 🙂 As far as Amazon goes, I think if you go to the Show Me How page, you can just click on “do a review” or something like that and it will give you a form to fill out. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend…take some time to smell the roses…or the carrot plants. 🙂


  5. What a great post full of wonderful ideas and a superb book choice for World Environment Day! Love the photo of your carrots, too, I have never had great success with this veggie!


    • Well, here in Colorado I don’t have much success with anything. 😦 But, back in Connecticut, we had a marvelous garden…I’ll have to scan some of the old photos and post them one day…100 blueberry bushes, apple trees, raspberry canes, and veggies galore…but I did have trouble with squash. 🙂
      Glad you like the book and activities, Joanna!


    • Thanks, Pat! There are a few others in the same vein…Harold and the Purple Crayon and Mickey’s Magnet come to mind…same illustration style and simple text. Yes, I love the determination and faith in himself that the little boy exhibits.


  6. I love this book. It’s amazing what staying power it has had and continues to have. We talk about the environment a lot in our house. We have solar electric on our house and live in a desert, so we talk a lot about how making our own electricity and conserving water helps our environment.


    • Glad you liked the book choice, Kirsten. I think every little thing we can each do does make a difference…especially when you put all of the things together. Solar electric…good for you. 🙂


  7. Gardening is such a great way to connect with nature. The first thing I grew . . . radishes. Then, potatoes.

    Never had much luck with carrots . . . they were always too stubby.


    • We didn’t have as much success with root veggies as with peas, beans and tomatoes.  I’m actually working on a picture book series about my son, Peter, who LOVED gardening so much…the tentative title of the first book is “The Tomato Turner”.   


    • Thanks, Heather…I loved gardening with my grandmother…and my kids loved gardening with me…it’s one of the most perfect intergenerational activities there is!
      Glad the books arrived safe and sound. 🙂 I hope you enjoy seeing some old favorities among the recommended picture books!


    • Thank you, Barbara! I really love
      the old classic picture books…and because of PPBF, I’m not only having the opportunity to share them, but am also getting to know many of the wonderful new books. 🙂


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