Ox-Cart Man

by Donald Hall

Other authorsBarbara Cooney (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1979



Call number




Scholastic Inc (1979), Edition: First Edition, 40 pages


Describes the day-to-day life throughout the changing seasons of an early 19th-century New England family.

User reviews

LibraryThing member maryanntherese
Donald Hall does a wonderful job portraying the annual cycle of
agriculture and handicrafts upon which New Englanders and others
survived in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Children will see a different lifestyle from our electrified, digital
existence. They will see how much of what a family
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used was produced
on the homestead. And how little was purchased with money.

The frugality of the family is especially evident when the father not
only sells his wares, but his cart, oxen and yoke at market. This
creates a real sense of wonderment, and an anticipation to see what
will happen next.

A good selection any time of year, to see what the family are up to
during planting, harvesting and the cozy winter months carving and
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LibraryThing member jkramer
Ox- Cart man is a great introduction to a piece of our history. This book would be age appropriate for 1-2nd grade. The illustrations warmly colored and detailed. The font is standard and small. This book has stylized images that reveal pioneer life in early America. A farming family is portrayed
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as hard working self-sufficient living individuals in America. This was a slice of history that it is rarely seen today. This book could be used in the classroom to entertain a lesson on our early history when most families were farmers.
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LibraryThing member GWES.Second
A farmer barters to get the things he is unable to grow or raise on his farm.
LibraryThing member kayautic57
I adore this simple down-to-earth story. I first learned of it when Lorne Green read it on "Reading Rainbow." I highly recommend it to all who read to children.
LibraryThing member DushiyanthiMcCarley
The ox cart man takes all that was left over either things that grow or what the family had made all through the year to market. When his cart is full he takes all the good to the market where he sells them. With the money he gets he buys things for his family and takes them homes. All winter long
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they work on different things like carving brooms and making linen and doing embroidery.

The story is similar to how a farmer works all year long and then takes his harvest and sells it. I liked it since it shows children the importance of work.

Extention: The students can draw a picture of what they thought the ox cart man would buy and take home.
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LibraryThing member ksimpson
This story takes place back when horses and oxen were the form of transportation and when you wanted something to eat, you had to go out and get it. The story follows a man and his family and tells of how they work hard all year long through the changing seasons to make enough things to sell at the
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end of the year when the man would go to town and sell their goods. When he does sell everything, he buys a few goodies for his family and buys some supplies so that they can get to work making things to sell the next year.
I liked this book. It has really pretty pictures and, coming from a farm, I could really relate to it in some ways, even though it isn’t set in the present. I love how it shows that if you work hard, it will all pay off in the end. Too many stories these days don’t share this same upbeat message.
If working with a group of children, I think this book would be great to use when discussing seasons. Throughout the book it tells and shows what they do for each new season. It would also be a good one to use if you wanted to teach cause and effect. The family worked hard all year so that when it came time to sell, they were able to get lots of good things. If they had not worked hard, they would not have had anything to sell and no money to get what they wanted. I think kids who live on a farm would also enjoy this because it would be something they could probably relate to a bit more than kids who were not from a farming community.
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LibraryThing member madelinelbaker
This book is a good example of a Historical Fiction because it shows the reader what families had to do in the 19th century to make money. They have to collect feathers from their ducks, shave their sheep and make it into yarn, and make syrup. The artwork in this books looks like it is paint,
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possibly oil paint, but I am not sure.
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LibraryThing member missrader
The story of a colonial era farmer and his family and the daily cycle of life and survival.
LibraryThing member ruthe002
Although this author is not on our recommended list, but this Caldecott award winning book was recommended to me by one of my professors. Its a great way to teach children about different roles in the family and daily life in early America.
LibraryThing member whitneyw
This book has a great steady rhyme scheme that is good for reading aloud. This book is also great because it shows the reader of a simple time when people would live by making things and selling them or for trade. This book is also excellent because it as very poetic versus.
LibraryThing member psjones
This book has incredible vocabulary. It is about a man who packs up everything he grew or built all year to sell for the winter months. It is good for students to see how he was able to sell absolutely everything he and his family made throughout the summer. The book also showed how after the
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oxcart man sells everything, his family immediately begins to grow and build news things to sell the next year.
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LibraryThing member tashabear
A timeless classic this is not. First of all, there are too many words in this picture book. The illustrations, which reflect an American Gothic style, are stiff and idealized. Mostly, though, on a personal level, the story lost me when the farmer sold his ox. Not a good book for animal lovers.
LibraryThing member btivis
This is quaint little story about a man loading up all of the goods his family made over the last year, to take to the market and sell. After he has sold everything, he takes the money he made to buy stuff for his family. He takes everything home and they start the process all over again to prepare
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for the next year's market.
I did not really like this book. I thought the pictures were good, but not enought to maek the story better. If I used this in my classroom, it would be in social studies class.
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LibraryThing member marietybur
Excellent artwork, primitive style perfectly suits the story of the year-round life of an early American farmer and his family. A satisfaction in seeing the end results of their work at harvest-time. Noble quality of a good work ethic: honesty and integrity.
LibraryThing member jpmccasland
The Ox-Cart Man is a satisfying story of a down-to-earth man and his family. All year long the family works hard to make the things needed for themselves from the bounty of nature. At the end of the year, the Ox-Cart Man takes the extra produce from the farm and sells everything he has in town. He
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returns with the things that his family needs to make the following year even easier. He is able to return to his warm house and loving family better off than the year before.

I enjoyed this story because of the simple life they lead. The illustrations fit well with the story and showed their health and happiness. I thought the book was well constructed and durable. Overall I liked the spare style in the illustrations as it reinforced the simplicity of their lives. I think that this book would be quite enjoyable for older children who would appreciate the choice of simplicity.

In a classroom I think that this book could be used to start a conversation about history and what life must have been like in the past. I feel that this book could be used also to highlight the various products and where they come from. The value of a simple life could be brought out and one could ask the class what the advantages of simplicity would be.
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LibraryThing member Lauramel
A Caldecott winner that is old, but has delightful illustrations. Depicting the life of a farmer and his family from fall until the the following spring and summer, this book would be a great way to introduce life in the 1800's.
LibraryThing member szierdt
How much I adore folk art! The illustrations in this book are a lovely representation of this artform and lends well to the historical nature of the story. Many unfamiliar items and ways of living to explore in this story. As well, the element of a season is present. It would be fun to assign
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children merchant roles and have them take turns being a farmer deciding what goods they will have to sell at market. This lesson would include cash handling and currency recognition, bartering, communication and reflection on the cultural values placed on role of each character. Also, a history lesson arises about how much harder goods were to acquire or produce and how traveling wasn't what we take for granted today.
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LibraryThing member McKennaMiller
I really enjoyed this portrayal of the life of a farmer. It does an excellent job of showing how hard the families work each year and how at the end of the year they go and sell everything they've worked on and start over again. I also thought the pictures added a lot to the words and went together
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LibraryThing member mj113469
This book was about a farmer and a family took everything they had made all winter and put it in the Ox-cart so that the farmer could take it to market and sell. The farmer goes to market and sells everything including the ox and the cart. He returns home to start making everything they sold at the
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market to sell again next winter.

This book was a very good book. It was a little too repetitive at times but it is a good book for a young reader. This book teaches children how years ago everyone in the family had to work hard to help pay for items they needed. It teaches children that not everything comes easy in life and that there is a circle to life and work.

I would use this book when teaching history. I would have them take a raw material and learn to make something. Or this could be used when teaching about farms.
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LibraryThing member DLWilson1831
To summarize this book, it was long, repetitive and uninteresting to me. It was about a farmer, his wife and two children. Each of the family members made something like a wood carving, embroidery, or grown vegetables. The father would load the items on his ox-pulled wagon and sell the items at the
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marketplace in the Spring. After selling the items, he would buy things his family needed like a knife or embroidery needle and take them home to his family. Then in the winter, the process would start all over again.

In reflection, I did not really care for this book. I thought it was boring and really couldn't relate to it on any level. I felt the book was for a young reader, but some of the topics might become boring. On a more positive note, the illustrations were life-like and detailed. The book really had some illustrations that were believable and did make the story more interesting.

For a classroom setting, this book could be used to have your students bring in an object or picture of something their family created together and share this with their classmates. Another idea for a classroom extension would be to discuss with your class what types of things they do with their families.
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LibraryThing member Phill242
Caldecott winner, 1980
cycle of farming life where a family spends all year making, storing, growing items to sell at a marketplace. Then using the money to buy things that will help them make, store, and grow items for the following year.
LibraryThing member rrossi1
This is a story about a man in the 1800's who collects goods in his ox-cart, and goes out selling them to the average consumer. Soon, he sold his cart and ox, his yoke and harness, and with the money, he bought an embroidery needle for his daughter. For his son, he bought a Barlow knife, and for
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the whole family, he bought two pounds of wintergreen peppermint candy.

This book is meant to show that hard work and dedication can make life easier, especially back in the 1800's, and when a farm family is involved.
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LibraryThing member KellyLPickett
This is a beautifully illustrated story of a man who lives in the country and every October he takes his ox and cart to the market in town to sell the goods made by his family. He sells every item he brought with him including his ox and his cart. He then walks back to his farm house to start the
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process of making the good that he will take to the town, next October, to sell.
The pictures depict a simple family in the 18th century country side of a small in New England. These illustrations have a folk art feel to them that resembles art work associated with that time period.
Ox-Cart Man could be used in an early history lesson to discuss colonial times and how people used to support themselves as well as the kinds of goods they used to make by hand.
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LibraryThing member bhellmay
OX-CART MAN won the Caldecott Medal in 1980. The illustrator has used the folk art style to explain the life in a farmhouse, family life etc. in New Engliand in the 18th century. The texture is always written on a white part oft he paper, but always on his own. I love one picture, it shows the
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valley where the farmhouse is. The first time one can see it when the father of the family is going to market, the second time, when he comes back from the market, The second time the reader is able to see the book from a different viewpoint, it looks like as he is on the other side oft he valley. The story can be read completely without text, as the paintings include the whole story.
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LibraryThing member JillSmith23
The theme of this book was that hard work will get you far in the world. It also gives children an insight on farming, and how different seasons determines what the family does. It is a good book because it is informative and has many good pictures with it that children will enjoy.


Original publication date



0590422421 / 9780590422420

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