Sonderbooks Stand-out

Sonderbooks Book Review of

A Seed Grows

by Antoinette Portis

A Seed Grows

by Antoinette Portis

Review posted October 13, 2022.
Neal Porter Books (Holiday House), 2022. 36 pages.
Review written August 30, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review
2022 Sonderbooks Standout:
#3 General Picture Books

As I write this review, I'm still deciding whether to put it on my Picture Books page or my Children's Nonfiction page as an example of beginning nonfiction for the very very youngest listeners. I think I will put it on the Picture Books page, because this is the kind of book I'd love to use in a story time or to read to a small child on my lap, and I don't usually look on the Nonfiction page for such books.

In fact, for years, I've kept my eyes open for picture books with very few words on a page to use for Toddler story times and their shorter attention spans. Even though I'm not doing story times any more (with my new awesome job as Youth Materials Selector), I have to point out that this book would be perfect for that -- and it teaches little ones about the life cycle of plants in a way they can understand, so it would also work for a STEM story time.

There are few words on a page and they're short and sweet, and the bright, colorful illustrations use simple shapes. Here's how the book starts out:

A seed falls

[That's on a white background. The facing page shows one striped sunflower seed falling against a blue background.]

and settles into the soil

[Now we see the same blue background with a stripe of brown at the bottom and the seed sitting on top of that.]

and the sun shines

[Now the facing picture is a big round sun.]

and the rain comes down

[Now the picture side has raindrops filling the page.]

and the seed sprouts

I think by now you get the idea. Very simple language and simple, colorful pictures show the entire process of a sunflower growing. When it grows to its full height, the page folds upward to show how tall it gets.

After the sunflower blooms, it makes seeds which birds take to their nests. Eventually, to end the book, a seed falls. And we're back to where we started.

Three pages at the back give more information for readers a little bit older, including a diagram of the life cycle of a sunflower plant.

This book is simple, but the bright blue and yellow colors leave me smiling.