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A Story About George Washington Carver

by Jean Marzollo & illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: April 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2325-5
Publisher: Holiday House

Told in the voice of an old tree at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Mo., this fictionalized biography provides a simple—one might even say simplistic—introduction to Carver’s early life. The tree-as-narrator device gets more than a little silly, with the tree proclaiming, “I’m just a tree so I don’t know what a president is,” and, “I don’t know what a computer is,” while it seems to know a lot of other things, like that racial segregation is unjust. Just skimming the surface of Carver’s life and work may have its place in some settings, but most readers will be disappointed in the lack of information provided here as well as by the patronizing tone. Colorful illustrations painted with acrylics brighten the story. Wilson-Max’s folk-art style complements Carver’s life and the period he lived in, giving the book a childlike and rustic appeal. End pages boldly display both the peanut and sweet potato plant complete with labels. Instead of an author’s note there are questions and answers “For Further Discussion.” This section also includes a quote from and photograph of Carver. There are better treatments out there; give this one a miss. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)