Ox-Cart Man
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Ox-Cart Man

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  7,090 ratings  ·  236 reviews
A lyrical journey through the seasons and passing years of one New Englander's family evokes the feeling of historical America.

Book Details: Format: Paperback Publication Date: 10/27/1983 Pages: 40 Reading Level: Age 3 and Up
Paperback, 40 pages
Published October 27th 1983 by Puffin (first published October 8th 1979)
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Caldecott Medal Winners
29th out of 77 books — 266 voters
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Best Children's Books
483rd out of 2,769 books — 4,071 voters

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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
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...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
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
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: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...
'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
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 book is about a man who goes to the market and sells all of his crops, produce, and belongings that he and his family have made over the past year that they didn’t use. He sells extra apples, honey, wool, a blanket, and mittens, anything extra that came from their farm. He even sells the boxes he transported the goods in and the cart he brought it all in. the story then shows the family shearing sheep the next April and growing new crops, making new boxes and barrels, a new cart and new mit...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:

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.
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.
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.
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....more
I love Donald Hall poetry, and while this is not the best example of his work, the tender illustrations certainly do him justice.
Tells about the circular nature of life. Parallelism and repetition make this an easy read for emerging readers.
A good story telling where things come from on a farm, what they are made into and how they are sold.
Cheryl in CC NV
I loved this with my children years ago. Simply & beautifully shows how many people used to live.
Perhaps as much or more so than any other winner of the Randolph Caldecott Medal, Ox-Cart Man finds the power of its telling chiefly through its incredible artwork, rendered by Barbara Cooney.

I think of Barbara Cooney as quite likely the hardest-working illustrator in the history of literature for young readers, given her tendency to go the extra mile (or 2,000 miles!) when it comes to collecting research for the scenes that she plans on creating. In Ox-Cart Man, Barbara Cooney has done a trul...more
Ally Copper
Though the 'Ox-Cart Man' by Donald Hall from 1979 is not an exciting, fast-paced, or humorous story, it does have a lot to offer young readers. 'Ox-Cart Man' is about a family who works hard all year growing crops, shearing sheep, spinning yarn, knitting, making candles, carving brooms, splitting shingles, and tapping maple trees for sap. At the beginning of the story you read about all of the goods the family has made being loaded onto the cart, which will be pulled by the family's ox. The fath...more
This was another of those interesting books. The drawing/pictures in this book reminded me a lot the image that you have to assemble for those 1000 piece puzzles. I certainly feel like I have seen this person’s drawing before. The colors were vivid and colorful. The text was extremely easy to follow, only at times I felt it was repetitive and caught a bit of alliteration. The way the story was structured was interesting, mainly because you see what the amount of work that the family has to do in...more
Ages: 5-9
Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, illustrated by Barbara Cooney is a beautiful example of historical fiction picture books. Hall’s simple prose provide information to young readers about daily life in nineteenth century New England. The readers come to understand that life takes on a cycle that follows the seasons so that the entire year is spent getting ready for market that provides money for supplies that go into preparations for the next year. Hall shows how each member of the family and...more
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
S. J.
May 29, 2013 S. J. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Parents and children
Recommended to S. by: ?
Call me old fashioned but I rather like this children's book. The illustrations call to mind folk art, which I believe was a deliberate choice as it works perfectly with the tale. One can then understand why it won the Caldecott Medal.

This book introduces children to a time that for them would be hard to even imagine. Children are given little understanding of history today, so I feel this book is even more important. The words are simply, repetitive, and tell the story of a family working toget...more
“Ox-cart Man” is the story of a colonist family and how they sustain themselves. Each year, the family has a cycle. The family fills up the cart each October with crops and goods they have grown and made throughout the year. Then the father goes to town and sells everything only to come back and start over again. The illustrations in this book are very vivid and detailed. Each page shows exactly what the text is describing.
This book makes me realize how difficult it was to live before...more
Amy Clinton
Ox-Cart Man is a story about a man who takes the stuff his family could no longer use down to the city to sell in order to purchase the new things for his family. This story talks about how he makes the adventure, how he sells all he brought with him, what he buys, and then his venture home to use the stuff that he had brought to get ready for the next summer. This book show the cycle of his family life.

This book can be used to teach history and how people worked along with their families and ho...more
Chris Connolly
Picture Book Soak Choice
1980 Caldecott Award
Found on pg.82 in the textbook


1. Before the traditional system of money, many people and villages would barter instead of giving money to someone. A man and his family work the land to grow food and animals to sell when they grow large enough. Each year, the man takes his ox and cart into the towns and sells his wares. His family enjoys living on the farm, and the villagers love to buy his goods.

Possible use in the classroom

2. The students c...more
Meghan Porter
Ox-Cart Man is a story about a man who works all year long to provide the little things for his family. He hooks up his Ox cart and goes to town to sell t he goods that his family had been working on all year. Once he gets to town he sells everything he brought, as well as his cart and ox. With what he made, he buys little gifts for his family as a thank you for all of their hard word. The story is a wonderful and heartwarming story of family and a man who loves his family. I really enjoyed read...more
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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
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 The Painted Bed: Poems Life Work

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