"Larry The Lawnmower" is a favorite children’s book and local celebrity in Jamestown, Rhode Island where we met with both the author and illustrator.
While taking harbor side pictures of author Jeanne Archambault and illustrator Victoria Corey, an excited little boy recognized their book in hand. Keep reading to find out what Jeanne and Victoria shared about “Larry” with their young fan and the Little Kids’ Book Club #18.
Larry is a personified red lawnmower imparting life lessons on every page.
"Hi! My name is Larry
and I’m shiny and new.
I work very hard
and I love what I do."
When a big blue rider-mower replaces Larry on the farm, he is no longer needed and left in the shed. Eventually a young boy finds value in the old, giving Larry a fresh coat of red paint. Back in service, they mow lawns together, earning money for the boy to buy a new bike.
The Story Behind the Story
Jeanne’s grandson Derek was “crazy for lawnmowers” starting at 2 years old. When Derek was 11, Jeanne’s daughter Desiree suggested to her mom that she write a children’s book about lawnmowers.
Five more years passed when Jeanne spotted Victoria’s watercolors at a local craft show. “I liked her style…I knew what Larry looked like in my head.” Within a few days Victoria presented Jeanne with her first illustration that now dawns the cover of this self published gem.
Read and Explore
- "Larry the Lawnmower" illustrations were based on scenes at Windmist Farm in Jamestown, RI on Conanicut Island, where Jeanne and Victoria call home.
- Pictured in many of the book illustrations is the real life Newport Bridge in the background.
- The Belted Galloway cows that graze Windmist Farm are affectionately called “Oreo ” cows, for their resemblance to the cookie.
- The Windmist land has been farmed dating back to colonial times.
- You can still visit the Windmist Farm today where they sell fresh eggs, and homegrown meats.
- "Larry the Lawnmower" received the Mom’s Choice Award.
- Jeanne wanted all the attention to be on "Larry." By design, the farmer’s face is not pictured in any of the illustrations.
- Victoria felt that Larry needed a friend, so she added a helpful mouse on every page.
- Jeanne has 4 daughters and 6 grandchildren, and Victoria has 3 sons.
Ask Your Child:
- Can you find the mouse on every page?
- Larry says,”In and out of a rut, I keep mowing and the grass gets cut.” What is a rut? (A whole or deepened track often made by wheels)
- Why does Larry “sleep” in the winter? (There is no grass to mow in winter.)
- Why is Larry’s paint “fading and chipping away”? (With use things get worn out and need upkeep.)
- How does a rider mower work? (Instead of pushing the mower, you drive it like a car.)
- What did the mouse get for Larry when he was crying in the shed? (tissues)
- Why is there a band aid on Larry’s head in 6 of the illustrations, and how did it get there? ( Once Larry’s paint began to chip and fade, his friend the mouse must have given him the band aid.)
- When Larry gets old he still likes to cut the grass. Can you think of something an older person in your family still likes to do? (open ended)
Thank you for joining us this week.
Julie E. Janson & Caryl Frankenberger, Ed.M.