By Aaron Reynolds
Illustrated by Peter Brown
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2012
Jasper Rabbit loves to eat carrots, especially those from Crackenhopper Field. The are “Fat, Crisp, and Free for the taking.” He stops by to eat them on the way to school, on the way to Little League, and on the way home in the evening. Jasper cannot get enough carrots! Until one day, he thinks the carrots are following him--could the orange, tasty vegetables really be lurking in his bathroom? In his shed and in his bedroom? Jasper Rabbit can hear their “terrible, carroty breathing”and he is scared. Has Jasper Rabbit gone too far with his love of eating carrots?! What will the carrots do to him? Enjoy this 2013 Caldecott-Honor winning book with a smile on your face as you watch the carrots trick Jasper Rabbit into never coming back to Crackenhopper Field again.
Aaron Reynolds’ father was in the U.S. Air Force, so as a child he moved around quite a bit. In addition to living in Texas, Colorado, Florida, and New Jersey when he was a boy, he also lived on the tiny island of Okinawa, off the coast of Japan. He graduated with a degree in Music Theater from Illinois Wesleyan University. Aaron Reynolds is a man of many talents as well as a man with an open mind, as evidenced by his career choices prior to becoming a writer; Aaron was an actor, businessman, waiter, carpenter, dancer, and chef. He has never been a superhero, rooster, or a carrot but is considering those as future career choices! He loves pepperoni and pineapple pizza, libraries, dinosaurs, Pixar movies, and surprises, and he detests mint chocolate chip ice cream and not being able to find his keys. Aaron Reynolds dreams of going into outer space, learning the violin, backpacking across Europe, and diving with great white sharks (in a shark cage, of course!). Aaron currently lives in Chicago, Illinois with his wife, two children, four cats, and from zero to ten goldfish.
Peter Brown has always loved to tell stories. He grew up in New Jersey and began his storytelling as a boy, drawing whimsical scenes from his imagination. Later, he found he also loved to write stories. Peter Brown studied illustration at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After graduation, he moved to New York city and worked on animated TV shows. His first published book was Flight of the Dodo, and his publishing career has soared since then. Peter has won numerous awards for his work, including a Caldecott Honor, a Horn Book Award, two E.B. White Honors, and a Children’s Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year. He has written five New York Times best sellers and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Aaron Reynolds’ official website, http://www.aaron-reynolds.com
Peter Brown’s official website, http://www.peterbrownstudio.com
Peter Brown gives an inside look at his artwork in Creepy Carrots, https://vimeo.com/43773523
Creepy Carrots book trailer, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j79n_g53Rss&feature=youtu.be
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Jasper Rabbit is convinced that carrots are following him. Have your students analyze the illustrations and the narrative of the story to find evidence that the carrots are either following him or his imagination has gone wild.
Jasper and the carrots each have a problem in the story. Have students discuss the solutions made by Jasper and the carrots. Did the carrots expect Jasper’s solution? What assumptions did Jasper and the carrots make? Have students brainstorm how they would have solved Jasper’s problem or the carrot’s problem.
Have students learn about the nutritional properties of carrots and how to grow carrots. If your school has a school garden, plant some carrots in the spring (carrots do not transplant well, so have students plant them directly in the prepared soil). Finish by eating a snack of carrots!
Alternatively, have students draw their own carrots on construction paper. Make sure to review great facial expressions they can use for their carrots. Make googly eyes available for those who would like to use them. Conclude by having children think of things for their carrots to say and then have students create speech bubbles. Finally, post the carrots around the school--get everyone wondering about all the “creepy” carrots!
View the Pinterest Board for Creepy Carrots for other great craft projects with carrots,
Using the carrots you created above, create a photo booth backdrop. Ask students to stand in front of the backdrop, either in pairs or individually, and make their creepiest or scariest or most frightened face. Post the pictures on the school website or around school.
Aaron Reynolds has said that when he was writing Creepy Carrots, he was paying homage to the famous television series, The Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone was science fiction/fantasy/horror TV show for adults where an alternate reality existed. Talk to your students about The Twilight Zone; maybe show them an excerpt of Rod Serling, the creator, from YouTube. Then ask your students to write a creative short story that includes the elements of science fiction or fantasy and mild horror--just like Creepy Carrots and the Twilight Zone.
Have students select either Aaron Reynolds or Peter Brown to learn more about. Then, ask students to write a letter to either the author or illustrator. Encourage students to share an opinion about Creepy Carrots or any other work by the author or illustrator. In addition, encourage them to share information about their favorite books and reading habits.