Tom the Tomato Plant: 3-5 Book Guide

Grades K-5
Subjects: Literacy, Music, Personal Wellness


Accompanying the heart-warming picture book, Tom the Tomato Plant, written by author Dave Carroll, this guide features cross-curricular pre-reading and after reading activities highlighting themes of self-awareness, resilience, and compassion for elementary students.

Need a book?  Reach out to Amy Tompkins: for a free classroom copy!

What You’ll Need

  • Tom the Tomato Plant book (By: Dave Carroll and Illustrated by: Floyd Ryan Yamyamin)  Click here to purchase your own copy!
  • Roll and Share Dice Game (included)
  • Giant Card template (1 per student – included)
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Markers or Pencil Crayons
  • Smart Board to view “The Giant” music video  (QR code in the back of the book will also take you to the audio version of the song)
  • Author Letter Page (included)


1) ROLL & SHARE DICE GAME (PRE-READING): Before reading the book, divide students into small groups of 3-4 students.  Each group will need 1 dice, a “Roll and Share” Sheet, and an area to play.  Read over the “Roll and Share” Sheet and the questions that accompany the number rolled on the dice.  Be sure to remind students that when sharing, no names are to be used.  (Example: Instead of – “Molly picked me last in gym for dodge ball!”, encourage students to say examples like, “When we were playing dodge ball in gym class, I was picked last.”)  Give a time limit and circulate around the room as students play.

2) Discussion (PRE-READING): Gather together as a group and discuss:  When have there been times when you have felt unnoticed, undervalued, or unappreciated?  Have there been times when you have felt strong, great, or invincible?  How different did you feel in both situations? 

3) READ ALOUD: Looking at the cover, have students share their knowledge around tomatoes and tomato plants.  It may be helpful to share about the life cycle of a plant.  Teacher’s Note: The font and spacing was designed to be friendly to children with dyslexia.

4) Discussion (AFTER READING): Have the students turn and talk to a close neighbour and discuss: When did Tom feel unnoticed and undervalued? And when did that change?  Have students share their responses.  Using chart paper, create a list of words or actions (by the children and family) that made Tom feel noticed, valued, and appreciated.

5) “The Giant” song (AFTER READING): Using the link provided above, view “The Giant” music video, the theme song of Tom the Tomato Plant.  Have students share some of the key lyrics that stood out to them while listening to the song.  Going back to the chart paper, discuss: Do we think that this list may also apply to more than tomato plants?  What other words or actions might we say or do to help someone else notice their potential, their skills, and their genuine greatness?

6) GIANT CARDS (AFTER READING): Give each student a photocopy of the Giant Card template (below), a pencil, and markers/pencil crayons to create a “Giant Card”.  This card is for someone who may be feeling unnoticed, undervalued, or unappreciated and who just needs a reminder of how great they truly are!  (Ideas: a friend, family member, cafeteria or janitorial workers, nurses, teachers, senior citizen, fast food worker, etc.)

Career Connections

Discuss: Do you know that you can have more than one job?  And more than one job that helps people discover their own giant?  Let the students know a little more about Dave Carroll:  He is an author (and not just of children’s books), an award-winning singer-songwriter, a professional speaker, and a storyteller!  If you enjoyed Tom the Tomato Plant, let Dave Carroll know by co-writing a class author letter or have students write a personal letter to him using the printable below.  Send to  Check out more about Tom The Tomato Plant!

NB Curricular Outcomes

Personal Wellness

GCO 2: Students will develop positive mental health.

GCO 3: Students will apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to establish and maintain healthy relationships.

GCO 4: Students will develop knowledge of self and explore the world of work.


GCO 1:  Students will speak and listen to explore, extend, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.

GCO 2:  Students will be able to communicate information and ideas effectively and clearly, and to respond personally and critically.

GCO 3: Students will be expected to select, read, and view with understanding a range of literature, information, media, and visual texts.

GCO 8: Students will be expected to use writing and other forms of representation to explore, clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and learnings; and to use their imaginations.


3.3.1 describe music they encounter in their school, at home and in the community, and the variety of purposes for which it is used.

3.5.3 explore connections between music and other arts disciplines.

3.8.1 understand that there are many reasons for music-making.

4.1.2 explore and identify ways that the elements of music are used to express thoughts, experiences, and feelings in their own and others’ work.

4.5.1 explore a range of ways that music may be used to reflect themes and ideas.

4.6.3 use knowledge of music elements to describe the music they hear.

5.3.1 describe personal opportunities for music-making in their community, including opportunities related to popular culture and the media.


NB Global Competencies