• Anne Meeker Watson, Ph.D.

JOHN THE RABBIT and the TWO LITTLE GARDENERS: Teach Preschool Problem-Solving in your Own Backyard

Many of you may know our story of JOHN THE RABBIT, who had a "very bad habit" of gobbling up all of the food growing in the garden. This old folk tale is a wonderful way to teach young children about all kinds of things that grow and change - including naughty bunnies!

Mom Kelly shared her two favorite gardening books for Littles with her three-year-old son, Jasper. This perfect book pairing included our SING.PLAY.LOVE. song story of John the rascally rabbit and the timeless Golden Book entitled TWO LITTLE GARDENERS by Margaret Wise Brown. You may know this author best for her beloved book GOODNIGHT, MOON.

Says Kelly, "Jasper found out the hard way that the JOHN THE RABBIT legend was true. John moved to Iowa and he was clearly eating our chard, onions and cabbage." Their garden was disappearing day by day thanks to visiting rabbits who were feasting on their backyard crop.

Kelly and Jasper followed the sage advice of Margaret Wise Brown's little gardeners. They erected a make-shift fence and created a fierce "raba-mole" to scare away vegetable-munching critters. Referring to the illustration of Margaret Wise Brown's "raba-mole" for inspiration, Jasper made his own.

He assembled his building materials from their recycling bin - including a tomato can for his body, soda bottle lid "eyes," and a macaroni and cheese box for his ears. Kelly stayed close to offer advice when he asked for it. He used tape and glue to affix the "raba-mole" parts. He borrowed his brother's acrylic paints to add some color to his creation and even added "RM" to the body for "raba-mole" to let the rabbits know who they were messing with!

Kelly says that Jasper is "a little bit obsessed" with both books, and was proud of himself for extending the stories and solving this garden dilemma. Says Kelly, "A great thing about being young is that you can look at the final product and think it looks just as good as the one in the book." We should all see the world through that lens.

Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your sweet story. And for following Jasper's lead as he directed his own learning to solve a real problem! Keep us posted on the status of your vegetable garden. (Behave yourself, John.)

JOHN THE RABBIT Book Kit is a great addition to your summertime reading and family fun! Check out this title and lots of others at

Do you have a SING.PLAY.LOVE. story? Email Anne to be considered for a future featured blogspot! And receive the SING.PLAY.LOVE. book of your choice for sharing.

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Anne Meeker Watson, Ph.D. is the founder of SING.PLAY.LOVE., 
an outcomes-based program to support early learning and kindergarten readiness.
Anne is a music therapist, mom, musician and avowed "Lover of Littles." She lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband.
When not on the job, she enjoys kayaking, snacking, and dancing to the song “Uptown Funk” in her kitchen. She believes the world would be a better place if everyone would just take an afternoon nap.

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