The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta; illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2020. Oil on illustration board. Published by Katherine Tegen Books.
Brief summary: This narrative biography begins in 1874 with a young ten year old George Carver watering his plants in his secret Missourian garden. Through George’s love of botany and nature around him, he learns of the benefits of those plants and shares this knowledge with others. He attends Iowa Agricultural College. Booker T. Washington hires George to teach the people about agriculture. He began experimenting with new crops to replace cotton, because that crop was destroying the land. He discovers peanuts do well in the South. Carver travels and educates people about how to farm better and the many beneficial uses of peanuts.
Comments: Wow! I had no idea that there are 300 uses for peanuts. The book did not list any of those, so I’ll have to do some research. Maybe that would be a good topic for students to research and share.
Timeline, bibliography, and further reading sections are in the back.
Beautiful and inspirational illustrations. The cover caught my eye.
Three Ways to Trap a Leprechaun by Tara Lazar; illustrated by Vivienne To. 2020. Published by Harper.
Brief summary: Claire’s younger brother, Sam, does not believe in leprechauns. She decides to make a trap and capture one to show her brother. She plans and builds the first trap. Foiled. Finn, the leprechaun, leaves her a note. Finn is determined to make a better trap. Sprung. Another note by Finn. Will the trap Claire and Sam build together work this time?
Comments: Instructions of how to build a leprechaun trap are in the back. Wouldn’t it be a fun maker-space activity for students to build traps?
What to Do with a String by Jane Yolen; illustrated by C.F. Payne. 2019. Published by Creative Editions.
Brief summary: A young girl uses her imagination and finds many uses of a string in some realistic and imaginary ways.
Comments: Told in verse and with rhyming words. Two page layouts. This would go well with introducing a maker space with string.
Sequel to What to Do with a Box(2016).
Hum and Swish by Matt Myers; illustrated by Matt Myers. 2019. Acrylic and oil paint. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: Jamie explores the beach randomly picking up things to make something in the sand but is unsure what that will be yet. The young girl is asked by several people what she is making but repeatedly answers, ” I don’t know”. Jamie hums as she creates. A painter with an easel sets up near her. They both create and coincide with one another throughout the day. They share their finished art projects with one another.
Comments: I like this quiet book of creating art. This would be a great book for an art teacher to share with the class before a lesson.
Hey, Water by Antoinette Portis; illustrated by Antoinette Portis. 2019. Brush and sumi ink; digitally colored. Published by Neal Porter Books.
Brief summary: A girl shares all about the water that is around her and how it is not always the same in the way it looks or feels.
Comments: This would be a good, simple book to read when doing the water cycle in primary grades. All three water forms are examined with a more detailed section of “Water Forms” in the back pages. A diagram of the water cycle and a “Conserving Water” section are included.
I think by reading this as an introduction to the water cycle would help the students see the three forms of water in their world by how the young girl examines them in the book.