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In the Garden with Dr. Carver Review by Kim Kargbo

By Susan Grigsby
Albert Whitman & Company
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

First of all, I should be honest and say that Dr. Carver is one of my heroes, and I am completely biased about any book on him, his life, and his work. That said, this book about Dr. George Washington Carver is positively delightful! The story is about a little girl named Sally who, along with her classmates in rural Alabama, had the privilege of spending a day being taught about plants and nature by Dr. Carver. He shows them how to listen to the plants to understand what they need to grow. The children spend the day drawing insects, birds, flowers, worms, and stones using paints they mixed themselves and learning the names of all of them. They plant a garden and have a picnic lunch made out of plant recipes developed by Dr. Carver.

Any homeschool parent looking for a living science book will be completely satisfied with this one. Each page is filled with learning through the eyes of the children in the story and their teacher, Dr. Carver. Along with a short biography on the life of Dr. Carver and some activities that would be easy to deduce from the story (making paints from milk, making fertilizer, planting an edible vegetable plant, creating unique recipes from peanuts or sweet potatoes, etc) you would have a complete study that would solidify the work and genius of Dr. Carver in the mind of a child forever.

As compelling as the story are the adorable watercolor illustrations on each page, and the front and back inset pages are as educational in themselves as the rest of the book! They are filled with watercolor illustrations of dozens of nature objects and their common and Latin names. This book would be an inspiration to a family wanting to start nature journals or just wanting to jump-start an interest in botany, entomology, or the life of George Washington Carver.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2010