The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver
The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Written by Gene Barretta & illustrated by Frank Morrison
Physical book
4 - 8
Reading age
Page count
Words per page
Lexile measure
Jan 14, 2020
Publication date

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What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

A biography of scientist and inventor George Washington Carver that is too divided between his accomplishments and his interests.

Barretta uses the novel—for a picture book—approach of a flashback to share this important history of American inventor and scientist George Washington Carver. Initially placing Carver in a meeting with members of the United States Congress, where Carver is first disparaged before he enchants the representatives for over an hour with his knowledge of peanuts, Barretta flashes back to Carver’s childhood and highlights his trying but determined path to his position as a preeminent American inventor and scientist, bookending the history with Carver’s careful attention to his own secret flower gardens. Though there are numerous praiseworthy moments throughout—like Barretta’s detailing Carver’s unmatched influence through his traveling Jesup Agricultural Wagon, by which he visited thousands of farmers and shared helpful advice for maximizing crops and caring for livestock—the story fails to share either sufficient details about Carver’s ingenious work with peanuts or his lifelong love of flowers. It does succeed, however, in conveying the remarkable character of Carver, who “remained a humble man, always ready to serve humanity,” even after becoming a man of fame and honor. Morrison’s oil illustrations are full, detailed, and beautiful, fitting of Carver’s creed, which concludes the story: “Regard Nature. Rever Nature. Respect Nature.” For readers whose interest is piqued to learn more about Carver, Barretta includes a detailed timeline of Carver’s life, a bibliography, and suggestions for additional reading.

What Kind of Book is The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver

Primarily about


Race, Ethnicities, & Nationalities

What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Carver overcame many challenges and setbacks to pursue his goals and interests. Through his work as a scientist and inventor, he made many positive contributions and helped many people. What goals do you have? What challenges do you face to achieve them, and what can you learn from Carver's example?
  • Carver is very generous with the knowledge and understanding he gains about plants and animals. He taught and shared what he knew with thousands of people and helped them. What do you know and understand that you can share with someone else to help them?


Book Lists That Include This Book

The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Gene Barretta Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Gene Barretta know that you want to hear from them about their book.

What Has Frank Morrison Said About This Book

Nothing yet! Let Frank Morrison know that you want to hear from them about their book.

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Book Details

Publication Date
January 14, 2020
Katherine Tegen Books
Illustration Details
The artist used oil on illustration board to create the illustrations for this book.
Page Count
Words Per Page
Reading Age
4 - 8 years
Est. Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
ATOS® Book Level
Accelerated Reader® Points
Accelerated Reader Quiz
Accelerated Reader Interest Level

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Core Score - 90%

So, SO close to perfection!

Depth Score - 28%

Just the barebones.

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