John Deere, That's Who
The name John Deere is widely recognized, at least up here in
Maine, even by non agronomists. I've seen tee shirts with pictures of
Modern Deere products sold up to Sears and on folks who could not tell
a carrot from a potato when both are in the ground. But who was the
man behind the legend? Tracy Nelson Maurer's John Deere, That's Who!
enlightens young readers and the significant adults in their lives.
Deere started out as a Vermont blacksmith struggling to support
his family in tough times. Then he was hit with bad luck. His forge
burned not once, but twice, leaving him broke and desirous of a fresh
In 1836 Deere travelled to Illinois and built a business. He
got plenty of work mending tools including plows. The plows were not
working well for the farmers who had to stop frequently to scrape
gummy dirt balls off. Some were even going back east where the soil
was easier to work.
Deere set his mind to designing a plow better suited to local
conditions with available and cheap enough materials. Of course we
know he succeeded. But the how of his solving the challenge and
selling his sceptical neighbors makes John Deere, That's Who! an
intriguing read...and maybe an inspiration to today's budding inventors.
On a personal note, yesterday I was blessed beyond measure. Each of
the 25 young African scholars gave a presentation on a cause close to
his or heart. They were very courageous (can you imagine speaking
halfway around the world in a language that is not your first?) and
passionate. You know the issues like lack of safe drinking water and
girls being denied education that I read and review books on? They
were making them come alive. It was electrifying. Their hearts
touched those of their listeners. And the world became a little
Now I am going to make each of them an origami book mark as a thank
you gift for gracing Maine people with their presence in out midst.
(What else would you expect of a book geek? As I fold I will thank
God for the chance to meet them and pray for their safe travel.
Inshallah, God willing, some day I will go to Africa.
A great big shout out goes out to the young African leaders and all
who hosted them and organized their travel and activities.
Sent from my iPod