Monday, February 24, 2014
Weeds Find A Way. Words by Cindy Jenson-Elliott and pictures by Carolyn Fisher. Beach Lane Books, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up
into the world in wondrous
fluffing up like feathers
and floating away on the wind;
swirled into prickly burrs
that stick to socks and fur;
poking into pants and paws
like tiny needles;
or shot out of tight, dry pods
like confetti from a popped
I don't even mind thinking about weeds right now...they would be a welcome relief to ice, snow and bone-chilling winds! You know about weeds; they grow in the strangest of places and survive despite constant efforts to eliminate them. They are too often maddening in their resilience.
The little girl and her dog, in this beautifully illustrated book, lead the way for us through an informative look at the bothersome plants we call weeds. The author shows us clearly that they can grow in many strange and wonderful places, that they manage to exist despite the long winter wait for sunshine and warm earth and, when the sun powers up to make a frying pan of summer sidewalks, that they manage to find life there, too. There are so many places for them to survive and thrive.
A weed's ability to spread its seeds and grow is the premise for this author who educates children and others about nature and the beauty found there. That natural 'beauty' includes 24 common weeds, described in a four page "Meet the Weeds" section found at the back of the book. Some will be familiar to you, others may not be. A simple illustration accompanies each descriptive paragraph, which might help children (and adults) with identification.
"Good or bad, weeds offer endless opportunities to study one of nature's most wonderful tools: adaptation. Adaptations are the physical qualities or behaviors, created by natural selection, that enable a living thing to survive in a particular environment. A weed's adaptations may include physical structures that help the plant avoid being picked, such as stem that breaks when it is pulled out so the roots are left in the ground to grow, or defences to prevent the plant from being eaten, such as thorns or poison."
No wonder the little beasts never go away! But, I guess I have to admit they are quite amazing.
This is a great nonfiction readaloud, with lovely descriptive language that will resonate with young readers and those who share the book.
And I love the close-up images created by Carolyn Fisher in mixed-media paintings and digital collage. Each scene stands on its own, offering a colorful background for the ever-changing perspectives and placement of text. It is a very appealing look at an unappealing (for the most part) group of hardy, unmanageable plants.