As I wrote earlier this week, we have thoroughly enjoyed The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss here at the House of Hope. This is a picture book that is accessible across the ages due to its simplicity. Although our schooling has definitely taken a backseat to swimming and splashing at the local splash pad over the past month, we have kept up our reading aloud, as well as a few other schoolish activities. This is our last official Before Five in a Row selection before we begin kindergarten next month!
When we read The Carrot Seed , I knew just the book to pair with it. We read The Giant Carrot by Jan Peck some time ago, and the first reading was just as good as the tenth. This charming and funny picture book is an adaptation of a Russian folktale entitled “The Turnip.” This version is peopled with rustic characters very appropriately described as tall Papa Joe, wide Mama Bess, strong Brother Abel, and sweet Little Isabelle. Through the combined effort of Papa Joe’s composting, Mama Bess’ weeding, Brother Abel’s watering, but mostly Little Isabelle’s singing, they grow a gigantic carrot which will not come out of the ground until sweet Little Isabelle lends her strength (and her voice) to her very able-bodied family’s efforts. This is all told with humor, repetition, and dialect which my girls just loved. Barry Root‘s illustrations are really a grand addition to this delightful tale–the spread of the carrot forcefully coming out of the ground always dissolves my girls into hysterical giggles. This story is the perfect companion to The Carrot Seed.
Another great go-along for The Carrot Seed is the Caldecott honor book Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens. This book purportedly picks up where “The Tortoise and the Hare” leaves off, only this time, the wily hare snookers a lazy bear. The hare figures out a way to get the food he and his family needs: he will trick the bear into giving it to them! I don’t want to ruin the surprise if you’re unfamiliar with this story (or if you can’t figure it out from the title 😉 ), but it’s a good one! It also has the distinction of being a picture book that opens vertically rather than horizontally, so it really gets the kids’ attention.
Of course, I couldn’t bear to read a book about root vegetables and pass up an opportunity to do a little science experiment. It helped that we already had a sweet potato sprouting in the cabinet! 😉 (Hey–books are my thing, not home organization, as evidenced not only by the potato, but also the dirty window!)
I figured it was probably a little late to do the trusty potato-in-the-glass experiment, but at the very least, I thought it would illustrate phototropism for the girls. This is the potato in the glass on Thursday, July 2:
It looks like I was right!
The most memorable part of this experiment for me was Louise’s question as we were preparing to submerge the potato in the water. She queried, “Will it be able to see in there?” Although I’m really not sure that sweet potatoes have eyes like potatoes do, I got my chuckle of the day out of it, at least. 🙂