Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney is a perfect cozy book for any time of the of year. Winner of the Caldecott Medal for Best Children’s Picture Book in 1980, Ox-Cart Man is a timeless tale that truly should be read aloud to every child.
The story starts in October with the man loading his cart with all the things his family has made or harvested over the previous year. He makes a ten day journey on foot to Portsmouth where he sells everything he has brought along. He purchases a few things that he carries home to his wife, daughter and son.
And the cycle begins again with the family working through the rest of the autumn, the winter, and the spring to prepare for the next October trip to Portsmouth.
There is so much to love about this cozy book including the illustrations, the simplicity of the story, understanding the rhythms of the seasons, and the emphasis on a family working together.
You should definitely add Ox-Cart Man to your list of cozy books to read and purchase a copy for your family library.
Geography – Find Portsmouth on a map. Try to determine where the man might live if he walked ten days to get to town and he was walking with an ox.
History – Learn about the history of the Barlow knife mentioned in the book.
Home Economics – Have you ever eaten turnips? Buy some from the store and try them.
Skills – Learn about the process of Flax to Linen.
History – The father and mother in the story are both redheads with fair skin. What might the illustrator (Barbara Cooney) be telling us with this detail?
Poetry – Read “Winter Blanket” by Ada L. Wine