New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2017

John Deere was having a streak of very bad luck. He was a skilled, hard-working blacksmith, but due to bad economic times in Vermont, his customers couldn’t pay.  And then there were two forge fires that destroyed his business. What to do?  Go west!  John headed to Illinois where he found farmers were struggling with plowing the sticky prairie soil they called Gumbo. It stuck to the iron plows they were using. Rather than see his customers head back to east, John created, through some trial and error, a better plow.  As a result, the Midwest became America’s bread basket.

With warm illustrations in the folk-art style, John Deere, That’s Who! tells an inspiring story of success through skill, knowledge, and tenacity. The text is clear, and works well with the lovely illustrations.  This story will speak to students interested in tinkering and farming, and all those kids who know that distinctive John Deere green.  School libraries located in rural, farming communities might want to invest in more than one copy.

Dewey:  338.7 Interest Level: K-3

Reviews and Awards:  Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal.

Middle grades might like:  Insane Inventors by Stephanie Bearce (Illus. Eliza Bolli).

Older readers might like: Kids Inventing! A Handbook for Young Inventors by Susan Casey.

Fiction pairing: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

On the Web: Past Leaders of John Deere Co – short biography at

A list of more of John Deere’s Inventions can be found at: