Baby Carrot by Terri Saville-Sewell follows the story of a baby carrot’s growth as seasons come and pass.
The story begins with a picture of a baby carrot growing in the ground among larger carrots. The text on the page is succinct: “Baby Carrot growing.” The next page features the bigger carrots crowding in around the baby carrot, with the text: “Baby Carrot squished.”
The story proceeds in this fashion, with Baby Carrot being “sniffed” then “bitten” by a rabbit, forgotten, lonely, wet, and so on, until finally Baby Carrot is uprooted by a garden tiller and eventually found by someone making a snowman. The final page shows Baby Carrot taking a prominent role as the nose on the snowman’s face, finally safe. The text reads “Baby Carrot happy.”
With such succinct text, the story is mainly told through colorful and engaging illustrations that skillfully register Baby Carrot’s emotions, from devastation to joy. The repetitious rhythm makes it easy to read aloud.
The presumed message here is that one should hold onto hope, even in dire times and that everyone has value, even when their purpose isn’t always obvious. But the story presents obstacles to this upbeat moral.
Some illustrations may disturb young children, particularly “Baby Carrot stomped,” which shows a large boot crushing the tiny carrot. And when a rabbit eats the leaves off Baby Carrot, adults might understand that this makes it hard for the carrot to be picked, but this will be missed by most young children, who won’t comprehend why Baby Carrot is left lonely and forgotten underground.
Also, when Baby Carrot finally finds his/her way onto the snowman’s face, it’s through sheer luck. Thus, the message is less about the carrot’s personal agency than what life simply delivers.
The illustrations make this a visually appealing book, but young readers may have a hard time understanding Baby Carrot’s loneliness and travails. Some rethinking of the text would enhance this offering.
Also available as an ebook.