A Seed Grows

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jun. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823448920.
PreS-Gr 1–Like tissue paper held up to a sunny window, Portis’s pictures have the glow of stained glass, offering texture and inviting readers to come a little closer to see what she has created. A seed grows, but on the title page that seed is still in the bird’s beak. It falls, settles into the soil, and sun and rain are simply present, part of the process. Soil, sun, water, air, and the seed takes root, grows tall, forms a bud, blossoms into more seeds, which feed more birds, and the cycle is complete. This approach to nature requires no embellishment, no anthropomorphizing, no cheerleading to lure in young eyes. Four- to five-word sentences on the left set off every gemlike illustration on the right, breaking format only when the book needs to be turned sideways so that the full glory of the sunflower’s height can be revealed. The back matter includes charming layouts of the parts of the seed and root, what the seed needs to sprout, and the life cycle of the sunflower plant. Complicated scientific principles are rendered simply and gracefully in scenes that seem to deliver a dose of Vitamin D.
VERDICT As with all of Portis’s books, natural science is served sunny-side up, without a word out of place, in this essential guide.

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