Book #91: The Carrot Seed

The Carrot Seed -- coverThe Carrot Seed was published in 1945.  Here’s the text in its entirety.

A little boy planted a carrot seed.
His mother said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
His father said, “I’m afraid it won’t come up.”
And his big brother said, “It won’t come up.”
Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed
and sprinkled the ground with water.
But nothing came up.
And nothing came up.
Everyone kept saying it woudn’t come up.
But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day.
And sprinkled the ground with water.
And then one day
A carrot came up.
Just as the little boy had known it would.

Most people see this as a book about perseverance or defying one’s parents, but Sendak in his imitable wisdom and preoccupation with Freud (he was in analysis for years) was notorious for noting that at the end of the story the little boy gets “the biggest dick of all.”

Crockett Johnson was a cartoonist and an illustrator of many picture books, but this is by far my favorite. I love it even more than Harold and the Purple Crayon. Its beauty lies in the astounding brevity and simplicity.  A classic.  ABZ

The Carrot Seed -- everyone the carrot seed -- huge

 

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