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Friday, February 24, 2017

What Will Grow? Written by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani. Bloomsbury, Raincoast. 2017. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"Shiny, brown.
Bumpy crown.

What will grow?

Oak Tree.

Very tiny.
Then so viny!

What will grow?"

There are signs all around us that spring is coming! We will have to endure more cold weather, perhaps a return of snowfall ... but, spring is coming. After all, February is almost a thing of the past!

To that end, I wanted to tell you about this lovely book that concerns seeds and growing. If you know about it now, you will have it ordered and arriving in time for spring planting. Maybe your school has decided to plant a community garden, or your children are old enough now to plant and water the seeds, and benefit from watching their food grow in their own back yard. How exciting is that?

The endpapers offer an apt invitation by showing the seeds included. There are twelve different kinds. The simple, descriptive text provides the information needed for children to learn about them. There are the familiar pine cones, sunflower seeds and even dandelion fluff, and others.

In rhyming text, accompanied by art created with gouache on wood, we learn about those things that will grow from the seeds we plant. There are hints in the words and in the illustrations to help answer most riddles. Some encourage young readers to take a very close look. Cleverly designed gatefolds provide the answer to four of the riddles in images absolutely appropriate to the answer. An upward unfolding one answers the riddle stripy black/crunchy snack/what will grow? with a tall and perfectly placed sunflower!

It is an elegant design - the content is carefully chosen, the warm spring colors offer quiet contemplation, and the thick, naturally recycled papers give it a satisfying feel. Endnotes provide a closer look at each of the seeds presented.

"Acorn (oak tree seed)

Sow: fall

Steps: Gather acorns and remove the caps; soak
acorns in water overnight, then discard the
ones that float; bury acorns in soil about 1 inch
deep, providing plenty of space for growth

When will it grow? In the spring, a sapling
(baby tree) will sprout, maturing to a shade
tree in about 20 years"

The four stages of plant growth are also described. Useful and entertaining, this is a perfect book to add to any bookshelf.

Now, I am going to see if I can find a copy of  What Will Hatch? (2013) by the same team.

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