Reading Together

Storybook Guide Based on Stuart J. Murphy’s “Just Enough Carrots”

Explore math while reading and talking about this storybook.

Topic:

Activity Summary

Use this storybook guide with the book “Just Enough Carrots.” Many public libraries have this book.

Reading guide

About the Story

Just Enough Carrots introduces your child to the ideas of more, fewer, and the same number through colorful illustrations. A young rabbit and his mother visit the grocery store, where they compare the number of carrots, peanuts, and worms in their cart to the number of items in other customers’ carts. The young rabbit dislikes peanuts and worms, but discovers, in a surprise ending, that they are perfect for Elephant and Bird, who visit for lunch.

Two bunnies and a horse shop for carrots at a grocery store. Illustration from “Just Enough.”

Words to Learn

MATH WORDS
more than, fewer than, same, little, any, all of, many more

OTHER WORDS
chomp, chew, squirm, crawl, munch, crunch, sale

About the Math

Just Enough Carrots is about comparing numerical amounts. The illustrations show examples of customers who have more than, fewer than, and the same number of items as those in the rabbits’ cart. While reading the story, your child can learn:

  • The difference between more, fewer, and the same number. You can help your child see more, fewer, and same even without counting: The group with the extra items has more and the other has less. And if there are no extra items, the two groups have the same number of items.
  • To count the items in a group. Counting them can help your child determine the exact number in each group (4 carrots here and only 1 there) and the exact difference between the groups of carrots (3 more carrots here!) in the cart.

Math Talk During Reading

  • NOTICE THE NUMBER OF ITEMS IN THE CUSTOMERS’ CARTS
    Who do you think has more peanut bags than the rabbits? Who has fewer peanut bags? Who has the same number?
  • PRACTICE CHECKING AND EXPLAINING YOUR ANSWERS USING THE ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE BOOK
    Can you tell me what you think these boxes mean? How do we know that the elephant has more peanut bags than the rabbits?
  • CONNECT WITH THE EVENTS IN THE STORY
    Would you buy the same number of worms as the rabbits buy?
  • MAKE A PREDICTION
    If I had two bunches of carrots, would I have more than, fewer than, or the same number of carrots as the rabbits?
  • OBSERVE AND COMPARE THE NUMBERS OF OBJECTS AROUND YOU
    Let’s take a look at our kitchen. Do we have more spoons than forks? How do you know?

Try to come up with some of your own questions and comments, too!

Activity After Reading

As you unpack groceries from the supermarket, talk with your child about how many items you purchased. For example, you can notice that you have more potatoes than onions or fewer cans of beans than cans of soup. Count the number of items with your child to find out exactly how many more or fewer.