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Ox-Cart Man
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Ox-Cart Man

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  9,639 ratings  ·  285 reviews
Winner of the Caldecott Medal

Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods - the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of
Paperback, 40 pages
Published October 27th 1983 by Puffin Books (first published October 8th 1979)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
23rd out of 79 books — 306 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
449th out of 3,324 books — 4,880 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nice portrayal of a farmers life in the 19th Century. How the Farmer loads up his cart to products his family works on over the year. It shows many different uses for what a farmer might have access to. Such as mittens made from sheep wool. A great book to introduce your child to a good history lesson.
I have actually first seen “Ox-Cart Man” on an episode of “Reading Rainbow” and I have decided to re-read this book after so many years of not reading it in my adult years. “Ox-Cart Man” is a Caldecott Medal Award winning book by Donald Hall along with illustrations by Barbara Cooney and it basically details the everyday life of how a man and his family keep on making new items to sell at the market and to use the money they earned from selling their items to buy new items. “Ox-Cart Man” might h ...more
Mar 12, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
An interesting look at pioneer times and the things that people would do to make a living. Our girls enjoyed this book a lot and asked a lot of questions about why the man would sell his mode of transport. The illustrations by Barbara Cooney, as usual, are fantastic.
Laura Verret
I’ve heard people rave about this book. Seriously – rave. So, I came into the book knowing what to expect. I will not be raving about it, but I did like it exceedingly. Here’s why.

Ox-Cart Man is the story of a farmer and his family. All year long the farmer and his family have been busy turning the resources on their farm into things to sell – the father and son sheared the sheep for wool which the mother spun into yarn which the daughter knit into pairs of mittens; they made candles, shingles,
Chelsea Cameron
This short story portrays the life of a farmer and his family living off the land in the 18th century. The family is very resourceful as they use an ox-cart for the transportation of their food and goods so that they can sell the items to make a living. I think the story gives such a great lesson to young kids who are growing up in a very technology dependent world. The lesson being portrayed is that the earth really can provide everything that is needed to survive. Things that young kids believ ...more
This simple yet beautiful historical fiction picture book takes the reader on a journey to early nineteenth-century New England. It is spring time. The main character, the ox-cart man, prepares to leave for Portsmouth Market. The family helps him to load his cart. Everything that the family made or produced during the previous season is packed for sale. The family needs money to buy tools and seeds for the new season. At the market, the man sells all his goods including the cart and the ox. He w ...more
Shanna Gonzalez
This beautifully written story follows a year in the life of a 19th-Century New England family. It echoes the style of Donald Hall’s poetic version of the story, which probably preceded this book.

In the first scene, the Ox-Cart Man loads his cart with goods to drive into town: wool, knitted goods, woven flax, hand-whittled brooms, shingles, and so on. As he loads the cart, the narrator embeds brief descriptions of how the family worked to create them. On selling the goods, the man buys supplies
The illustrations of Barbara Cooney really "make" this book. But the "dated" story is touching, how the farmer and his family work the land, harvest and make, knit, carve, weave things to sell at the market, how they make the utmost use of everything the farm and the land give them. It was a great opportunity to explain how people used to live in the "olden days" and how there used to be an age where people did not have stoves (well, okay, some people may still not have stoves), cars, supermarke ...more
Mike Smith
Only the illustrations earn the second star. All are classic representations of colonial New England, but only the panoramic depictions of the Ox Cart Man's journeys are anything special. The flowing path evokes a journey of many days while allowing the whole journey to appear in one frame. The colors in these illustrations also portray the beauty of the region missing in the dreariness of the rest of the tale. Unfortunately these three illustrations cannot overcome the boring, repetitive and de ...more
Kathryn Anne Russell
Ox-Cart Man written by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney has some of the most beautiful art that I have ever seen in a children’s book. The book tells the story of a man and his family during colonial America and the process that they follow to live and survive throughout all of the seasons in one year. The book starts with the man’s journey with his ox and cart that lasts ten days in one direction where he goes to sell items that he and his family have made. When he arrives, he sell ...more
Stefani Sloma
You can also read this review and more on my blog, Caught Read Handed.

Ox-Cart Man was a book recommended to me by the branch manager at the library where I work. He told me that it was a simple story and that he cries every time he reads it. I had to check it out.

Ox-Cart Man follows a man in early nineteenth-century New England as he packs up everything his family has grown and made in the past year to sell in the market. All of his family’s goods are packed into the main character’s cart and ta
Kelly Borton
Ox-Cart Man is a tale of an 18th century New England family. The father packs up the goods they produced and longer need. Some of these items are a bag of wool he sheared from a sheep, knitted mittens, produce they grew, and even their oxcart and ox. He took the money and purchased items the family needs. For example, an iron kettle and an embroidery needle. When the father returns home the cycle of creating goods from their resources of farming plants and animals; the family produces more goods ...more
Zether Zether
This book was extremely boring.The sentences were redundant. Many of them could have been made into a list instead of a sentence. If the individual sentences were not boring enough, the author formatted them to look like a poem. The problem with that is that there was no emotion, no rhythm, and no flow to warrant presenting it that way.

To be honest, the whole book was written like a to-do list. The farmer's family made different things. He sold those things at the market. He bought new things a
This 1980 Caldecott Medal winner offers readers a glimpse back in time through its gentle text and subtle illustrations emulating an old-fashioned style of painting on wood. The book takes readers back in time several generations ago, reminding them of a time when most families were self-sustaining, and almost everything that they needed they made. Bounties were then sold or traded for whatever else they needed. In this case, one New England farmer loads up his ox-cart with goods, and then trave ...more
Cheyenne Cortesi
In this story a man begins to fill his ox cart with items his family and him have made. Within the cart are goods like apples to something as simple as goose feathers. Once the cart is filled, he goes to town. There, he sells all of the items in the ox cart and even sells his cart and ox as well. Once he sold everything he buys a new embroidery needle for his daughter, a knife for his son, an iron kettle, and two pounds of candy then heads back home. After he gets home, he begins to farm and cr ...more
This book was really sweet, the illustrations were lovely and homey, plus I loved all the details of how hard this family worked to make a living. I really enjoyed this book, it was simple, but profound. Definitely something I would recommend.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
'Ox-Cart Man' is a classic award-winning children's picture book written by poet Donald Hall and published in 1979. The beautiful illustrations by Barbara Cooney are full of realistic details captured in watercolors that are reminiscent of Thomas Kincaid paintings. Set in New England, it tells the story of an unnamed man on the outset of a journey to sell goods grown, made or collected at his farm by himself or his family (wife, son and daughter), evoking a theme of industriousness that runs the ...more
Sami Wilson
The Ox-Cart Man written by Donal Hall is a great book for younger students to read and look at. I thought that this book was well written and had a good story line expressing that you should use what you have around you to make new things. It is a good lesson for students of all ages and even adults to learn and relearn many times. Another key point in this book is that working hard will get you somewhere in life, just sitting around not doing anything will only harm you. Things are not just han ...more
Adam Donald
This is the story of a rather poor family. This family doesn’t have much but they are very frugal with their money and work very hard. They make mittens, scarves and maple syrup. They have sheep that they shear to get the wool for their clothes. This story teaches young readers that life may be hard at times but so long as you work with a smile on your face you will have a fulfilling life. The illustrations do a great job at depicting the landscapes as the seasons change from winter to spring. T ...more
This one is a cute story with a lot to say about work ethics and how a family can work together. You might want to read this along with The Little House books at some point if your younger child especially liked this picture book growing up. For more:
Melanie Abril
Ox Cart Man is a story of a New England family in America. The plot goes through days, weeks, months, and seasons of the family simple farm life. The father and head of the house hold goes out to sell things to provide for his family and when he returns they work together like a well oiled machine. The cycle of how the family functions, continues from fall to winter to spring and then back again.

In this Caldecott Medal book this simplistic way of life is interpreted and observed in a lyrical way
Ox-Cart Man is a book that describes the daily life of a New England family who lived during the early 19th century. It explains their lives as they go throughout each season. The family uses an ox-cart to transport their goods to the market, which is where they make their money to survive. The illustrations were very detailed and incredibly accurate as to what a settler’s way of life was. Many colors were used, and the illustrations made it seem like we were in the book during this time period. ...more
Amar Pai
This book is terribly dull. It's like reading someone's extremely boring grocery list. I can't even remember what all the ox-cart man had but I think pickles that he made for pickle season... cloth for clothing... turnips that were pickled for pickle season... decorative gourds...
A great educational book for your children of all ages. My 6 yr old loved it as well as my 3 yr old twins. Lots of good information with beautiful pictures that will help keep children engaged. We really enjoyed the illustrations as well. A great addition to any children's library.
Jul 08, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Josette
I really liked this book, but it is way too advanced for Catherine and Santi right now. I can see us re-reading it in a year or so. I think it would be especially helpful to teach biblical concepts of discipline and preparation - along the lines of the ant and the grasshopper yada yada.
Rosa Cline
This book was recommended from a website for the Little House books; I'm currently reading the Martha years (Laura Ingallas great grandma) and this book goes hand and hand with that timeframe. This book was a very cute cherished book. It helps modern day children to know years ago that family's mattered. Everyone (regardless of age) used their talents to help their family. It also teaches how sheep make wool, and wool is spun on spinning wheels, gardens grow food. Maple syrup comes from trees et ...more
This is one of Maddie's favorites. I like it too because it describes colonial life and takes us away from...our modern conveniences. The illustrations are beautiful.
The book OX-CART MAN reminded me of the earlier days in our country's history, and it made me feel a bit nostalgic for that time period when families were self-reliant and worked together to support each other. On the other hand, I'm grateful for the conveniences which we enjoy today. I don't think I would have made a very good early settler. The best part of this book (for me) were the illustrations. Barbara Cooney did a fabulous job with the colors and depictions of early life in the States. I ...more
Sam Cooper
This book is about a man who is a very hard worker. The family makes scarves, mittens, and maple

syrup. The man also sheers sheep, and works the garden. The man takes all of the products that he and

his family have produced to the town to sell, he even sells the cart. The book discusses how a family

should spend their money responsibly which is very important for kids these days to learn about. The

illustrations do a great job at depicting the landscapes as the seasons change from winter to spring.
I love Donald Hall poetry, and while this is not the best example of his work, the tender illustrations certainly do him justice.
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Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928. He began writing as an adolescent and attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference at the age of sixteen—the same year he had his first work published. He earned a B.A. from Harvard in 1951 and a B. Litt. from Oxford in 1953.

Donald Hall has published numerous books of poetry, most recently White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1
More about Donald Hall...
Without: Poems The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006 Essays After Eighty Life Work

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