Title: The Carrot Seed
Author: Ruth Krauss
Illustrator: Crockett Johnson
Publication Date: Reprint, December 2004 (60th Anniversary Edition)
Audience: Ages 4 – 8
Summary: A young boy plants a carrot seed, marks the place, and waits. His parents say “I’m afraid it won’t come up.” His brother says very definitely that it won’t come up. Despite this discouragement the boy pulls weeds, and waters, and waits, and waits, and…the carrot has to be carried in a wheelbarrow.
Literary elements at work in the story: The Carrot Seed has been in print for 65 years. You can find it in the 60th Anniversary Edition, in paperback, as a board book, or in Spanish. The plot can be summarized in one sentence. Krauss’s husband, Crockett Johnson, illustrates’s the story with distinct art work-small, chunky boy, wide open eyes, turned up nose- the perfect picture of faithful, hopeful, waiting. This book has endured for a good reason.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? The boy and his family are Caucasian but this makes little difference in the story. He is almost a generic, cartoon character. None of the other factors are involved.
Theological Conversation Partners: Seeds are an important metaphor for the Word of God and for the Kingdom of God. See Is. 55:10,11; Matt. 13:1-9;24-30;31,32; Mk. 4:26-29; 30-32;: 1 Cor 3:7-9. The Carrot Seed offers a good opportunity to talk about seeds, to examine them, to marvel at the life within them, and to actually plant some. Jesus told stories about seeds. Children may not be ready for the metaphor yet but this is laying good ground work. This simple story is a perfect illustration of the kind of active, faithful waiting called for in advent; in times when nothing seems to be happening; in times when others are doubtful. Sometimes, as Jesus acknowledged, seeds don’t grow and this may be part of a discussion; still they are evidence of God’s good plans and a dependable world. Carrot seeds produce carrots. Given the right conditions, this is what they will do.
Faith Talk Questions:
- Have you ever planted a seed and waited for it to come up? Talk about the experience.
- Why did the boy plant the carrot seed?
- Why did his family doubt the seed would come up?
- Jesus told a story about seeds that suggested that all seeds would not grow. What could have kept the carrot seed from growing?
- What did the boy do while he waited?
- How did the family’s doubts affect the boy?
- Did the boy act like he thought the carrot seed would come up?
- What did the combination of faith and work produce?
This review was written by regular contributor Virginia Thomas.
The Carrot Seed by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.