Little Naturalists: George Washington Carver Loved Plants

Gibbs Smith. (BabyLit). Aug. 2021. 22p. Board. $9.99. ISBN 9781423658412.
PreS-K–Carver and Maathai join other famous naturalists like Jane Goodall and Ansel Adams in this series for naturalists-in-the-making. Through rhymed and rhythmic verse, tots get a fairly good idea of why and how Carver and Maathai helped further our understanding of things that grow. Maathai earned a Nobel Peace Prize for her work to plant millions of trees after becoming alarmed by the rapid deforestation happening in her home country of Kenya. Through this effort, she was able to provide an income for the many poor women she employed. Carver’s lifelong study of plants led to discovering the myriad ways peanuts could be used and an understanding of the importance of crop rotation. Lucas’s illustrations are colorful, two dimensional, and include just enough visual details to convey big ideas. The text, while fairly brief and simple, conveys some of the most important aspects of each subject’s life. And, while each of these naturalists accomplished so much more than what can be contained in this series, as beginning biographies for preschoolers carrying the implied message that taking care of our Earth is a worthy endeavor, this series works.
VERDICT A great start for helping preschoolers begin to understand how one individual can affect the ways in which we think and act upon our natural world.

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