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Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! by Rob Keeley

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Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! by Rob Keeley

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Enjoyable picture book which suggests strategies to deal with teasing at school and also advocates for healthy eating. A kind and compassionate approach, told through relatable dialogue.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 19 Date: November 2021
Publisher: Matador
External links: Author's website

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Lily loves eating fruit and vegetables. She likes carrots, broccoli, cabbage and aubergines. When her friends at school turn up their noses, Lily is keen to explain how good they are for you and how nice to eat. One day, poor Lily gets tricked by Jordan, who tells her that carrots grow on trees. Infuriated, Lily checks with the teacher, who explains that fruits grow on trees and vegetables, like carrots, grow in the ground. Jordan says, "I did try to tell her, Miss!" and everyone laughs at poor Lily.

So Lily, her mum, and a box of elastic bands, set out to teach naughty Jordan a lesson!

This is a lovely and relatable picture book suggesting strategies to deal with teasing and bullying at school. Lily and her mum show Jordan the error of his ways by inviting him round to tea, fixing carrots to the tree in her back garden using the elastic bands, and turning the joke onto him, in a nice, rather than a mean, way: "Well, everyone knows carrots don't grow on trees. Don't they, Jordan?" says Mum. By inviting Jordan to tea, Mum neutralises the peer pressure aspect of teasing and also gets the opportunity to promote healthy eating by serving up a delicious carrot salad.

The story is told through dialogue - there are no authorial interventions or descriptions, so children experience the story in the moment. But at the back of the book is a series of suggested activities, which parents can use to provide commentary and discussion as the book is shared together. What should we do if we don't know the answer to a question? Why would Lily's mum invite Jordan to tea even though he is a bit of a bully? Do we think Lily and Jordan will be friends now? And what would we like to put in a healthy salad?

The illustrations by Simon Goodway complement the dialogue perfectly, telling the story from an outside perspective and communicating the various emotions in a relatable way - Jordan's face when presented with his (kindly) comeuppance in the form of a carrot salad is priceless! There's plenty to investigate and discuss.

As ever, Rob Keeley gets to the heart of his topic - in this case, dealing with teasing successfully and promoting healthy eating - without ever being preachy, and always making sharing a book a delightful experience for parent and child alike.


Rob Keeley has also written some great humorous short stories for newly confident readers to enjoy. Childish Spirits is the first in his ghost story series for middle graders. My Favourite People and The Treasure in the Tower are his other collaborations with fab illustrator Simon Goodway.

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Buy Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! by Rob Keeley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Carrots Don’t Grow On Trees! by Rob Keeley at


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