Cover image for The little plant doctor : a story about George Washington Carver
The little plant doctor : a story about George Washington Carver
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, c2011.
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 27 cm.
Reading Level:
AD 640 L Lexile
Added Author:
A biography of George Washington Carver, whose scientific research revolutionized the economy of the South.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 921 CARVER 0 1

On Order



If a flower drooped, George asked, "What's the matter? Too much sun? Too little sun?" He moved some plants from sun to shade and others from shade to sun. Nicknamed the Little Plant Doctor, George would try to find a remedy.

Jean Marzollo introduces children to a great scientist and encourages them to cutivate a sense of wonder and a desire to explore.

Bright, bold illustrations by Ken Wilson-Max underscore that science and learning are fun!

Author Notes

Jean Marzollo was born Jean Martin in Manchester, Connecticut on June 25, 1942. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1964, and received a master's degree in teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1965. After graduating, she taught high school English for several years and then became involved in educational publishing. She was the editor of Scholastic's kindergarten magazine Let's Find Out for twenty years.

Her first book for parents, Learning Through Play, was published in 1972 and her first children's book, Close Your Eyes, was published in 1978. She wrote over 150 books for children and has illustrated some of her own children's books starting in 2003. Her works include the I Spy series; Soccer Sam; Mama Mama/Papa Papa; Close Your Eyes; Happy Birthday, Martin Luther King; and the Shanna Show books. She died in her sleep of natural causes on April 10, 2018 at the age of 75.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Marzollo's sweet, simple biography begins, "I'm a very old tree. I live in Diamond, Missouri. Old trees like me have stories to tell." Told from the perspective of a tree on the grounds of the George Washington Carver National Monument, the story is a heartfelt testimony to Carver's innate curiosity and delight in the natural world. The book is written conversationally, an engaging tactic that draws readers in. Although some might find the fictionalizing off-putting, the nonfiction elements are blended seamlessly with factual details about the man's desire to attend school and his subsequent accomplishments in botany. The vivid, full-bleed illustrations add much to the story; the vibrant, painterly strokes are visible throughout. This lovely book is worthy of a place on most shelves.-Nicole Waskie-Laura, Chenango Forks Elementary, Binghamton, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Marzollo's gentle biography of botanist Carver is told from the perspective of a tree that bears witness to his early fascination with plant life. Wilson-Max paints Carver's childhood garden with broad, smudgy shapes and thick outlines, as Carver laments that he isn't allowed to attend school with white children. But after studying plants and learning to read, he goes off to school and makes a name for himself. The framing device isn't entirely successful; key conversations have to be held within earshot (leafshot?) of the tree, and its "knowledge" of the world is inconsistent (it doesn't know what a president is, but discusses Carver's work at the Tuskegee Institute). Readers aren't likely to gain a true sense of his accomplishments through the tree's limited point of view. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

A tree narrates this biography of the African American botanist and educator, describing his childhood interest in plants and his desire to attend school. The tree has some hokey lines ("I'm just a tree so I don't know what a president is"), but the book is a serviceable introduction to Carver. Bright acrylic illustrations show the man among flowers and trees. End matter provides additional information. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Told in the voice of an old tree at the George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond, Mo., this fictionalized biography provides a simpleone might even say simplisticintroduction 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)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Told from the viewpoint of a talking tree on the plantation where George Washington Carver spent his young childhood, this handsome picture-book biography tells how the famous African American scientist always nurtured plants and studied them, but the law did not allow black children to go to school. Finally, at age 12, Carver tells his beloved tree the exciting news that he is leaving for school. Today, the tree is part of the national historic site where crowds come to see for themselves where Carver grew up. The fantasy elements distract from the amazing details of Carver's life. It is Wilson-Max's beautiful, unframed acrylic paintings that will grab readers with images of the boy with his beloved plants and delighting in books, as well as the clearly labeled images of the peanut plant on the end pages. Extensive final notes with questions and answers for young children and for older readers fill in more fascinating facts about science and history, including the note that Carver discovered more than 300 uses for the peanut.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist