About The Book
Back in the 1830s, who was a young blacksmith from Vermont, about to make his mark on American history?
John Deere, that’s who!
Who moved to Illinois, where farmers were struggling to plow through the thick, rich soil they called gumbo? Who tinkered and tweaked and tested until he invented a steel plow that sliced into the prairie easy as you please? Long before the first tractor, who changed farming forever?
John Deere, that’s who!
Who will love learning about the man who created the singing plow in this beautifully illustrated biography?
You, that’s who!
• Can you find 10 things that were not invented yet when John Deere was alive? Answers are on the Classroom Discussion Ideas sheet below. (Thank you to illustrator Tim Zeltner for the coloring-ready artwork!) Worksheet PDF
• For Teachers and Librarians: Classroom Discussion Ideas PDF
• Corn Cob Activity: One side of the cob has a Word Find of farm words; the other side has a Word Farm to encourage students to think of their own favorite words. More fun? You'll need: Yellow paper, green streamers, duct tape, scissors, tongue-depressor sticks. 1. Make two-sided copies of the cobs on yellow paper. 2. Cut out cobs, one for each student. 3. After students complete their word work, duct-tape one tongue-depressor stick to each cob. 4. Students tape or glue 2 green streamers for leaves. Send your classwork, and it might get posted here!
• American Farm Bureau Foundation Educator Guide (available for purchase $3.50)
• National Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher Resources
• Listen to an interview with Lu, of Lu and Bean Read.
"Text is smoothly conversational and has just enough details to interest without overwhelming...Illustrations are gorgeous: semiprimitive paintings with deliberate crackling for an aging effect. The winding patterns of rivers and plows are especially noteworthy." -- Kirkus Review
"Told in a conversational manner, the factual narrative is well matched to the folk art-style illustrations...An effective resource for economics lessons, as it examines product development, testing, and distribution. Also a solid selection to demonstrate the creative thinking and problem-solving skills needed for design or maker learning." -- School Library Journal
"Beautiful illustrations—including spectacular landscapes—reflect the time period and bring John Deere's remarkable story to life." -- Jr. Library Guild
Best of 2017 American History Book List - Betsy Bird, Fuse #8 Blog, School Library Journal
Jr. Library Guild Selection
Missourian Summer Reading Selection
Frances and Kermit Rudolf Nonfiction Scholarship Award, Hamline University